Dental Implants

It is possible to eat, talk and laugh with confidence even if you were to lose one or more teeth. This is achieved with dental implants. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root placed into your jaw to hold a replacement crown in place. It looks, feels and functions like your own teeth. It is made up of highly bio compatible titanium metal and is the next best alternative to your own natural tooth.

Scientifically tested and researched, dental implants have been used in dentistry for decades and are becoming even more popular because of the convincing success rates of over 96%. If you are missing one tooth, the option of a dental implant is better than the traditional Bridge work. A Bridge requires the dentist to cut down both neighbouring healthy teeth for support. Whereas a Dental Implant replaces only the missing tooth, preserving bone and keeping the neighbouring teeth healthy. If you are missing multiple teeth, then, more dental implants are required. This technique eliminates the need for troublesome adhesives and uncomfortable metal clasps. If you need full Dentures, then implant- supported Dentures are the best alternative. Traditionally, poorly fitting dentures impair the way you eat, the way you talk and the way you look. There is also continuous bone loss leading to irreversible facial changes. Dental Implants improve the comfort and stability of dentures and prevent bone loss.

Duration of Treatment

Most implant treatments are carried out in two stages that are spread over an interval of two to six months. However, in certain cases, it is now possible to have a single-stage treatment.

Advantages of Dental Implants
  • Aesthetic solution to missing teeth : Implant- bourne teeth provide the most esthetically and functionally natural solution to tooth loss. They fit harmoniously into the dental arch and are fixed as securely as natural teeth, restoring confidence and self esteem.
  • Help preserve healthy teeth : In comparison to conventional bridges, the placement of dental implants does not involve preparation/cutting of neighboring healthy teeth to stumps, in order to support the new teeth. Furthermore, you can clean and floss just as with your own teeth.
  • Protection against bone loss : Just like natural tooth roots, dental implants transmit chewing forces evenly to the jaw bone. This prevents the slow shrinkage of the remaining bone which would occur if the missing teeth were replaced by conventional dentures and/or bridges.
  • Quality of life : Patients are spared the disadvantages of conventional dentures, such as painful pressure points and poor fit. In addition, the palate is no longer covered by denture material, which has positive effects on speech and taste.
Who are dental implants suitable for
  • Nearly all age groups : Dental implants can be placed as soon as jaw growth is complete. Implants provide an optimal solution for all age groups.
  • Requirements for successful treatment : The basic requirement for successful dental implant treatment are good general health and good oral hygiene.
Treatment sequence with dental Implants
  • Diagnosis and Planning : At the initial consultation, after a detailed examination, your problems and dental aspirations are discussed. Following this, a series of photographs are taken, certain X-rays and moulds of your teeth as part the planning process. In some situations when an X-ray does not provide the necessary level of information about your bone, you may be required to have a Computed Tomography (CT) Scan which provides a 3-dimensional image of your jaw and enables analysis of the bone density and quality.
  • Building up the bone : For the implant to provide a firm foundation for the final restoration, an adequate amount of bone is imperative. In some cases, when investigations reveal inadequate bone, various methods to build up the bone can be considered. This is called Bone Augmentation or Bone Grafting. In many cases, building up the bone can be carried out simultaneously with insertion of the implant. In other situatiions, it may be necessary to carry out several operations to achieve the desired result.
  • Inserting the implant : Dental implants are usually inserted under local anaesthetic or, if desired, under intravenous sedation. Compared to the time required for implant planning, the actual implatation procedure takes minimal time and the risks and complications are fewer as compared to those associated with the extraction of wisdom teeth. To insert the implant, a small part of the jaw bone is first exposed, the implant bed is prepared using precision instruments untill the desired depth and width are reached. The implant is then screwed in the jaw bone and the gum is sutured into place. The entire process can take less than an hour but maybe longer depending on complexity of the case and number of implants being placed.
    In some cases it may be possible to place the implant immediately after removal of a failing tooth during the same surgical procedure (immediate implant placement). In other situations one may place the implant after 4-6weeks(early placement) or in still other situations after 8-12 weeks post extraction.
  • Healing : To provide a long term stable basis for the new tooth, the implant must knit firmly with the bone. The healing period usually lasts 6-12 weeks, depending on the medical situation and bone quality. This healing period is usually pain free and uneventful. The patient may be provided with a interim denture or temporary bridge during this healing period.In a few cases, it may be possible to provide immediate same day teeth.
  • Final Stage : When healing is complete, the custom made or bridge is made in the dental laboratory. The final restoration can be either cemented or screwed into the implant. In both situations the restoraton is fixed and can only be removed by thew dentist except in the case of an implant-bourne removable denture.
  • Care : Good oral hygiene is very important for preserving the new teeth and implants just as it is important for preserving your natural teeth. Regular, thorough but gentle removal of plaque and tartar helps in the long-term success of implant treatment.