Despite advancements in dental treatment, millions of people lose their teeth most frequently due to periodontal disease, tooth decay, or trauma. For a long time, dentures and bridges were the only options for those who had lost teeth. However, dental implants are now accessible.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are medical devices surgically inserted into the tooth root of missing teeth to improve a person’s chewing function or aesthetics. They offer assistance with dentures, bridges, and other artificial teeth restorations.
A person may have issues after losing a tooth, including rapid bone deterioration, speech impairment, or altered chewing habits. Teeth implants improve the patient’s quality of life by replacing the missing tooth.
A dental implant system consists of an implant body, an abutment, and an abutment fixation screw. The dental implant body is positioned in the jawbone in place of the natural tooth’s root by doing the surgery. The dental implant abutment often extends through the gums into the mouth and supports the artificial teeth.
What are dental implants made up of?
Titanium or titanium alloys are used to make dental implants. As soon as the implants are inserted into the jawbone, the bone will grow around them and fuse with them just like natural bone would. The implant can now act like a normal tooth root.
The prosthetic tooth, the visible part of the implant, is typically composed of porcelain or another tooth-colored material.
Types of implants
There are different types of dental implants. Your dentist will suggest whichever may be ideal for you. The most common types of dental implants include:
Your dentist will perform a single-tooth implant and then insert a single replacement tooth or crown if you only need to replace one tooth.
Your doctor may perform a multiple-tooth implant with replacement teeth if you have multiple missing teeth.
Full-mouth dental implants
Your doctor might do full-mouth dental implants if you are toothless.
Other dental implant-related procedures
Depending on the condition of your jawbone, the number of missing teeth, and any other unique requirements, your doctor will determine whether endosteal implants or subperiosteal implants are the best options for you.
They might suggest further procedures to maintain your dental implants. These might include bone augmentation, sinus lift, or ridge modification.
Dental implants pros
Depending on the outcomes you want from the procedure, implants have a variety of advantages over a bridge or dentures. There are five main benefits of dental implants:
Titanium, used to make dental implants, is very strong and biocompatible. This implies that after the implant insertion, the jaw will naturally grow new bone around it, anchoring it firmly in place like the root of a natural tooth.
2. Appear and feel natural
A skilled prosthetist can make crowns or bridges that look like natural teeth. However, there may still be problems, such as slipping dentures, making clicking noises, or impairing speech. Implants that replace the crown above the gum line and the supporting tooth root below it eliminate these problems.
3. Avoid bone resorption
Jaws support teeth, but the opposite is also true. When a tooth is lost, the bone beneath is no longer stimulated to develop and may eventually degenerate. Multiple lost teeth can cause a visible jaw reduction and an early aging appearance.
A dental implant supports the jaw by fusing with it and can encourage the development of new tissue. By doing so, bone degeneration and loss may be less likely than with a bridge or dentures.
4. You can eat what you like
If you wear dentures or a dental bridge, your dentist would advise you to avoid certain foods, especially those that are hard, chewy, crunchy, and sticky, as these could harm or cause them to come loose. With dental implants, you won’t have to stop eating your favorite foods because the replacement tooth supported by an implant will remain in place and not move or fall out.
5. Easy to maintain
There are no particular maintenance needs for a dental implant, unlike dentures, which need to be cleaned carefully every day and kept moist and germ-free overnight. Your dentist will merely encourage you to practice regular good oral hygiene.
Dental implants cons
Recognizing the potential drawbacks is crucial while knowing the facts regarding implants. You could select an alternative to implants for the following reasons:
1. Not suitable for everyone
Dental implants can replace all of your teeth, but not everyone is a candidate for the procedure. You could not be qualified for the following reasons:
- Your jaw is too small to accommodate an implant
- You suffer from a medical condition that interferes with bone healing.
- You smoke and have terrible oral health.
Smoking and dental health issues like gum disease might raise the chance that an implant will fail.
2. Require several appointments
Typically, dental implant surgery requires a series of appointments spread out over up to six months. This could be discouraging if you’re looking for a speedy repair for your smile. The waiting time is required so the jaw bone can heal around the implant and firmly retain it.
3. More expensive compared to alternatives
Even though the recurring expenditures are lower, dental implants initially cost more than a bridge or a set of dentures. Most people only need to invest in implant surgery once, with the prosthetic teeth attached to it typically needing replacement after a few years. In contrast, bridgework and dentures typically require more regular replacement.
4. Require surgery
Dental implants might not be for you if you don’t like the notion of surgery because placing an implant requires a series of minor surgeries on the gum and jaw. Your dentist will review each step to ensure you understand what to anticipate during the procedure and healing phases.
Advantages of dental implants
Disadvantages of dental implants
Table 1: Summary of dental implants pros and cons.
Healing time for dental implants
The healing of your gum tissues and the bonding of the implants with your natural bone will take roughly three months. Your doctor will suggest a particular diet to aid in the healing process. At the end of the three months, your doctor will implant your permanent replacement teeth allowing you to resume eating the foods you usually would.
Dental implants vs. other tooth replacement options
Dental implants vs. dentures
Dentures are detachable false teeth composed of nylon, metal, or acrylic (plastic). By fitting tightly over the gums, they replace missing teeth and care for any issues gaps could cause.
Dentures are an excellent alternative for those who cannot have dental implants. However, implant candidates frequently choose them over partial dentures.
Advantages of dentures
Disadvantages of dentures
Table 2: Advantages and disadvantages of dentures.
Implants vs. dental bridges
A bridge is a fixed dental treatment that joins an artificial tooth permanently to nearby teeth or dental implants to replace one or more missing teeth.
Advantages of bridges
Disadvantages of bridges
Table 3: Advantages and disadvantages of dental bridges.
The complete procedure of getting a dental implant
Your dentist has advised you to get the dental implant for your missing tooth, but you’re not sure what you’re getting into. There are several things to consider before getting dental implants for your missing teeth. You’ve probably heard that getting implants takes time. Let’s go through each stage so you can get a better understanding of the procedure.
1. Dental exam
Your dentist will want to schedule a checkup to carefully examine the health of your mouth before beginning any work. X-rays and potentially 3D scans are included here. This phase is required to determine whether your gums and jawbone condition is adequate to sustain an implant.
2. Implant surgery
After the examination is over, your dentist will arrange your operation. Surgery is the actual first stage in the implant process. Your dentist will insert the titanium implant below the gum line into your jawbone. The time required for this procedure to insert each implant ranges from one to two hours. Most dentists will wait around three months after this stage. Although it may be annoying, the healing process is crucial to the success of dental implant treatment. You must give the implant enough time to Osseo integrate well into the bone.
3. Post-operative recovery
Some patients may feel swelling, bruising, or pain right after surgery. This may vary depending on the amount of work required by your dentist to install the implant, mainly if a tooth had to be extracted. It’s crucial to allow enough time between your implant procedure and the crown installation. The time depends on how quickly your bone and gums heal. Usually, this healing process takes three months.
4. Crown fitting & abutment.
The final phase is the less intrusive process of attaching the abutment and crown to the implant, which comes after your implant has healed. Between the implant and the permanent crown is a little cushion-like shock absorber called an abutment. This stage frequently entails exposing the gums to fit the abutment and crown on top of the implant. Your new artificial crown can be placed once the abutment is firmly in place, and the dental implant procedure will then be finished.
In conclusion, you should anticipate the dental implant treatment taking several months to complete and arrange all necessary processes. A permanent replacement tooth is the reward. Talking with your dentist is the best way to determine how long the procedure will take.
Risks associated with getting dental implants
Sinus injury is a significant risk during the dental implant procedure. Your nasal sinuses are right below your upper jaw. Implants used to replace your front teeth may pierce the sinus, which could cause pain or even an infection.
Dental implant surgery carries an infection risk like any other oral surgical operation. As your wounds heal, your dentist will provide you with instructions on how to keep them clean. Call your dentist if you experience discomfort, swelling, or fluid seeping from the incision site.
Implant surgery has the potential to harm nerves. Before the treatment, your dentist should take X-rays to find the nerves in your mouth. Talk to your dentist about all the risks before deciding to have dental implants. Tell them about any medical issues you have and the medications you use. You can decide if implants are the best choice for you with the assistance of your dentist.
Is getting a dental implant painful?
The thought of having surgery is intimidating, we understand that but you don’t have to worry as the dentist will provide local anesthesia. This will make you feel numb in the area so you don’t feel any pain. You can listen to one of our patients sharing his experience getting a dental implant in the video below.
Cost of getting dental implants
Implants generally cost more than other teeth replacement options, such as dentures or bridges. The price can vary depending on your location, the number of missing teeth, and the dentist. At Stellar Dental, you may choose to get dental implants either with a General Practitioner (GP) which costs RM4500 a tooth, or with a Specialist at RM7500 a tooth.
Dental implants are a fantastic technique to replace missing teeth with artificial ones that seem natural. Implants act as anchors for the missing teeth. Once implanted, dental implants become part of your jawbone. Additionally, implants aid in the stability of fixed or removable dental bridges and dentures.
Book an appointment at Stellar dental to know if dental implants are the right treatment for your missing teeth. The skilled and dedicated team is there to help you with each step, starting from the initial examination to the final crown placement day and beyond.