Dental implants can be used in many different situations. They are used to replace teeth that may have been lost, whether due to large carious lesions (cavities), failed root canal treatment, trauma or accident, etc….
Dental implant treatments are one of the most effective methods for those who want to recuperate their oral and systemic health and have a beautiful smile.
A Beautiful smile has a direct relationship with the individuals personal well-being, self-confidence, professional success, etc … When the individual feels uncomfortable smiling or talking in public this may cause illnesses such as chronic depression and anxiety.
What are the indications for performing the treatment?
The main indication is the replacement of missing teeth. It is common to use implants in accident victims who have lost their teeth due to trauma.
They are also frequently used by older people or even younger individuals, who have lost their teeth due to poor hygiene and its subsequent causes of gum disease, cavities, root canal treatment, among others. It is most important to consult a specialist in Implant therapy to find out what is the best treatment option for your particular case and also to inquire about the alternative options available
What are the treatment procedures?
The procedure is planned and executed with great attention to each factor responsible for the long-term treatment success. THere are over fifty variables to be accounted for during the treatment plan phase therefore the dentist must be thorough in his examination and subsequent treatment planning of each unique case.
It is common to ask for a computer tomography scan (ct scan) of the area to evaluate how much available bone is present in the area to be implanted and also to evaluate the critical anatomy in the area such as the presence of nerves and blood vessels in close proximity to the implant.
If there is not enough available bone in the area there may be the need for bone graft surgeries such as onlay grafts or sinus lift grafts to increase the available bone in order to have the adequate foundation to place the implants. Gingival graft surgeries/gum graft surgeries may also be indicated in some case to achieve optimal aesthetic results or for functional reasons when there is not enough attached gum tissue available to create a seal around the implant in order to avoid gum disease issue in the future known as periimplantitis.
For the placement of the implants themselves, local anesthesia will be applied. Then an incision is made in the gum to reflect the tissue and gain visual access to the underlying bone. The titanium implant is then inserted into the bone with great care making sure of the correct angulation and position of the implant.
There is also the option of conscious sedation such as oral sedation or nitrous oxide sedation for apprehensive patients who have anxiety or fear.
Following the surgery usually a period of four to eight months is recommended for the implant to fuse with the bone before restoring the implant with the crown which mimics the natural tooth. Therefore the total treatment time varies anywhere between six to ten months for most cases. In certain cases it may be possible to place the implants and at the same time place the crown/tooth on top of the implant. This is known as Immediate load implants. There may be a greater risk of the implants failing when performing this procedure. Therefore the implantologist must be prudent and thorough in his examination and treatment planning protocol to minimize the risk of complications and implant failure.
What are the possible risks and complications of this treatment?
Any surgical procedure has inherent risks and complications. THese include possible failure of the implant to integrate with the bone, infections following the surgical or restorative procedures, uncontrolled bleeding during the surgical procedure, damage to the critical structures in close proximity of the implant such as the nerves and blood vessels which may cause numbness, tingling and/or burning sensations which may be permanent. This is the reason why it is important to consult a dentist specialized in this field who has lots of experience to minimize these risks.
Patients who are smokers are at a greater risk of complications and implant failure. Also patients with certain systemic diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes, or other immune compromised diseases have a greater risk Complications. Other risk groups are patients who have undergone radiation therapy. In such cases your dentist will ask your physician to provide written consent for the procedures to be performed.
How to Care for the Dental Implant to Increase Success in the Medium and Long Term?
The main care is related to your oral hygiene practice at home or work. It is important to practice the correct brushing and flossing techniques on a daily basis and maintain your routine dental visits at least every six months for your dentist to check the bite/occlusion of the teeth and other criteria to preserve your implants in the mid to long term.
Ask your dentist to show you how to brush and floss correctly to maintain optimal and continue to smile confidently.