Dental implants are like artificial tooth roots, almost identical in shape to screws which are meant to replace a missing or lost tooth structure, thus assisting in attaining a normal masticatory function.
Dental implants have been a discovery which has changed the course of dentistry in the last 25 years. As with most of the treatment procedures in dentistry, dental implants involve not only scientific research and understanding but also a consistent application in clinical practice.
The practice of implant dentistry is as much an art as it is about science. This site will help provide you with the knowledge you require to make an informed choice while the placement of dental implants by dental health professionals.
Types of dental implants
There are two main types of implants:
Endosteal: Those dental implants which are placed in the jawbone. They are typically made of titanium and have a shape of small screws. An abutment is connected to the endosteal implant after the healing of gum tissue.
This is followed by placement of an artificial tooth or crown to the abutment. They are the most commonly used type of dental implants.
Subperiosteal: Those dental implants which are placed on, or above, the jawbone under the gum tissue. This type of implant can be used in patients who have insufficient healthy natural jawbone and are reluctant to undergo a bone augmentation procedure to rebuild it.
These are made from a metal framework with projections serving as posts on which crowns are placed.
The components of a dental implant
A dental implant consists of 2 parts joined together by a connecting screw. The portion of the implant which goes inside the jaw bone is called a fixture.
The fixture is connected to the upper part which holds the artificial tooth i.e., the crown by a screw. The upper part of the implant prosthesis is referred to as the abutment.
Dental implants bond with your natural bone by a process known as Osseo-integration.
Dental implants are made of titanium, which is a lightweight, strong, and the most biocompatible material to be placed inside the human body. Titanium has the least chance of rejection by the body.
Titanium and its alloys are the most widely used metals in making of any implants, such as dental implants, orthopedic joint replacements, etc.
The procedure for the placement of a dental implant
There are generally three standard protocols of getting a dental implant:
Firstly, the dentist surgically places the implant fixture into the jawbone. This is followed by a recommendation of a soft diet, cold foods, and warm soup during the healing process by the dentist.
Secondly, after placing the implant fixture considerable amount of time is provided for the prosthesis to undergo Osseo-integration i.e., a period given for the fixture to get adhered to the jaw bone before the final placement of the crowns. A specific time a provided before loading of the takes place which usually comprises of 3 months form the day of the placement of the implant fixture.
Finally, with the completion of the Osseo-integration period, the placement of abutment is carried out. This is followed by impression making to form a die. The die is procured and sent to the laboratory for a crown preparation. The size, shape, and fit of the crown are based on the cast derived from the impression.
The cast will be designed to blend in with the adjacent teeth as closely as possible. When replacement of more than a single tooth is desired, custom-made bridges or dentures are made to fit your mouth and the dental implants. (Note: The replacement teeth usually take some time to prepare.)
The difference between a natural tooth and a dental implant
Dental implants behave like the teeth which they are replacing in almost every respect. They can help an individual eat, smile, and appear like natural teeth. But the only difference lies in the mode of attachment of dental implants to the bone, response to dental disease and maintenance and repair in the long term.
A tooth is attached to the surrounding bone by a periodontal ligament [PDL]. PDL is made up of collagen fibers which are connected to the tooth on one side and bone on the other. Dental implants are fused to the bone directly by Osseo-integration.
The gums are made up of collagen fibers which attach to the cervical portion of the root of a tooth. However, gum tissues can only make contact on the upper surface of dental implants protruding out from the bone.
Teeth are susceptible to dental decay, which requires the need for a filling or root canal treatment. Since dental implants are made of titanium, they do not undergo any decay or require a root canal. Teeth are often susceptible to periodontal disease i.e., periodontitis. Patients with dental implants may be suffering from peri-implantitis.
Peri-implantitis is an inflammatory response to the development of bacterial biofilm around the tissues surrounding the implant. This may result in loss of the bone surrounding the implant. This may lead to dental implant mobility, followed by the eventual loss of the implant.
The importance of bone in an implant placement
Bone present in the oral cavity serves as the scaffold on which teeth are placed and derive their nerve supply. A jaw bone consists of- basal bone and alveolar bone. Basal bone is the part which forms the base of the jaw. It supports the alveolar bone, which is built with the eruption of the teeth. Stimulation of bone is necessary to maintain its form and density. In the case of alveolar bone, the necessary stimulation comes from the teeth themselves.
When there is a loss of a tooth as a result of extraction or injury, it is often accompanied by resorption of alveolar bone. Resorption is an inevitable process in which the bone is lost when there is a loss of teeth which renders the bone functionless. There is a significant decrease in width and the height of bone during the first six months after tooth loss. This is followed by an overall reduction of the bone height with time.
When a dental implant is placed, the amount of alveolar bone and the adjacent nerve structures present are taken into consideration. In the case of a small amount of bone present, bone grafting is considered a choice of treatment. Surgical techniques are available to help regenerate the bone that is lost, to provide the necessary bony scaffold for the anchorage of dental implants. The primary reason for the replacement of lost teeth by a dental implant is the maintenance of an adequate jawbone.
Osseo-integration of dental implants to the bone helps stabilize the bone and preventing further bone loss. Only dental implants can stop this process and preserve the bone.
What is the need for a dental implant?
Most of the dental patients find a dental implant as a secure, stable, and a good replacement in cases of missing teeth, edentulous condition and loss of the permanent tooth, etc. Loss of teeth often leads to loss of the supporting bone of teeth.
Placement of dental implants not only stabilizes bone but also prevents its recession of the surrounding bone. Apart from replacing lost teeth, dental implants help in maintaining the level of the alveolar bone.
When performed by a well trained and experienced dentist, dental implant surgery is one of the most predictable and safest procedures in dentistry.
Thus, dental implants directly support the jaw bone and, indirectly, the soft tissue structures surrounding the tooth i.e., gum tissues, cheeks, and lips. Dental implants impart a sense of social, psychological, and physical well-being of an individual.
We as a dental clinic in Dwarka provide for world-class dental implant procedures at reasonable cost taking into consideration the wellbeing of the patient and ensuring sterilization at every step of the process followed by regular check-up in cases of any difficulty. We help attain natural mastication with the confidence to smile again.