Missing teeth lead to numerous problems, including difficulty in chewing, affecting once appearance and speech impairment. These individually or collectively undermine a person’s confidence and social standing.
A dental implant is one of the options to replace your missing teeth. It typically consists of a titanium screw, surgically placed inside the jaw bone. An implant can support a crown, bridge or denture, providing better stability and long-term support. An implant-supported crown replaces a single missing tooth, and an implant-supported bridge or denture can replace several missing teeth. You may or may not be eligible to receive a dental implant, depending on your oral health and systemic condition.
The first step would be to visit your dentist to ascertain your suitability as a candidate for an implant. An initial consultation involves a thorough examination of your oral cavity and procurement of comprehensive medical history. Certain systemic conditions like metabolic diseases also stop you from getting a dental implant. Optimal bone health and no underlying systemic diseases are the two main prerequisites for a tooth implant.
Your dentist may also suggest you undergo bone grafting, or sinus lift surgical procedures in cases wherein additional bone support is required. Sometimes people with multiple severely diseased teeth are also eligible for dental implants. You can get these teeth extracted and opt to have dental implants placed on the same day. Further investigations are required to establish your eligibility for this. A failed root canal treatment may also be one of the reasons to get a dental implant.
A mini dental implant is another treatment option to be considered. These implants consist of a titanium post with a ball on end, and a socket with a rubber O-ring to attach the tooth to the post. It is similar in structure to a regular implant but slightly smaller in size. They are typically 1.8 to 3.3 mm in diameter and 10 to 15 mm in length. This kind of implant also supports all types of dentures, bridges and crowns and is sometimes used to stabilise a loose lower arch denture.
A regular dental implant usually takes several months and multiple dental appointments. To sustain a regular size implant, some patient may also have to undergo a bone augmentation procedure. Some patients may not be able or willing to undergo a surgically invasive grafting procedure or visit for multiple appointments.
In some cases, the bone mass may not be sufficient to sustain a regular size implant. A mini dental implant is a perfect treatment option in the cases mentioned above. These can be placed under local anaesthesia in a single sitting without sutures. A patient can also start using his new teeth on the same day. Like all other dental prostheses, a mini tooth implant also requires good oral hygiene and routine dental visits, for best results.
The treatment plan
Once you are deemed suitable to receive a tooth implant, a proper treatment plan is devised for you. CT scan is done to visualise the area. An impression of gum and teeth procured to plan a personalised treatment plan. You may be eligible to receive an endosteal or a periosteal implant. Endosteal is the more common type in which a titanium screw is placed within the jawbone.
Subperiosteal, wherein the implant is placed beneath the gum but on or above the jawbone. A subperiosteal implant is typically done in patients who don’t have enough healthy jawbone to insert the implant and are unwilling or unable to undergo bone augmentation procedures.
A maxillofacial surgeon performs the procedure under local anaesthesia. The treatment requires an incision to be made at the site. A drill is then used to create a space for the tooth implant. The implant, typically made of titanium is then placed within, and the gum flaps are stitched. You may sometimes experience pain, swelling, bleeding and bruising at the surgical site after the procedure. The stitches will be removed after a week.
The implant site typically takes six to eight weeks to heal. Once the site of the dental implant has completely healed, the dentist proceeds to constructs a crown, bridge or denture to be placed over your implant. You must maintain good oral hygiene, follow proper pre and post-surgical instructions to allow for optimal healing.
An infection around the implant site or improperly adjusted bite lead to failure of a tooth implant. Habits such as biting, clenching or grinding your teeth may also lead to breaking of the implant. Smoking is another factor which compromises the success of a tooth implant.
To avoid complications of implant failure, you must undergo routine dental checkups. Your dentist may advise you to go for x-ray annually to check the condition of the existing tooth implant. You are also expected to maintain good oral hygiene habits. Your healthcare provider may suggest special equipment to maintain hygiene around the implant fixture. One must also avoid habits which create unnecessary pressure on the implant like eating hard food. These measures will help maintain your tooth implant in the long term.
Dental implants are deemed to have a success rate of over 90%, subjected to the maintenance of good oral hygiene, following care instructions, visiting your dentist regularly and avoiding habits that damage your teeth. A well-placed dental implant is as good as a natural tooth in function.
Dental implants are considered superior to dentures in stability and comfort. Implant-supported crowns, bridges and denture are a convenient and comfortable alternative to replace missing teeth. They also don’t require additional support during chewing and last for a long time. As compared to a bridge, a dental implant doesn’t require removal of adjacent teeth structure and adhesion for stability.
Dental implants also help maintain the jaw bone thickness. Hence, the implant-supported tooth or teeth along with the remaining natural teeth, help maintain the oral function and retain the oral form and function. Implant-supported dentures also boost the patient’s confidence as they eliminate the chances of the denture falling out of the mouth while speaking or eating. The comfort and confidence, associated with a successful dental implant, bolsters a person’s confidence and improves the overall quality of life.
At The Dental Implant Centre by Nuffield Dental, Single Tooth implant, Full Arch Teeth Implants, All on 4, Same Day Teeth, Conventional (Regular) Tooth Implants & Mini Dental Implant are the available treatment options depending on your need. In selected cases, immediate loading dental implants (immediately after extraction) may be possible.
Our team of highly skilled and experienced dentist guide you through the complete procedure with utmost care and compassion.
Contact us to know more about the available implant options, the pertaining cost, and to book an appointment. You can alternatively visit one of our eight centres to have a confidential discussion with one of our experts.