Dental Implant

What is a Dental Implant

A Dental Implants structure and components
Dental Implant Components

A dental implant is a post in the jaw bone that is used to place a crown on which replaces a missing tooth. Dental implants are made of titanium or zirconium. A dental implant is consists of a post (screw), abutment, and a crown (replica of a tooth).

When an Implant is Needed

  1. Missing one or more teeth
  2. Want a better smile
  3. Cannot eat properly
  4. Cannot wear removable dentures
  5. Want to Improve your speech with less acrylic in the mouth.
  6. Have loose teeth due to gum disease or periodontal disease
  7. Cannot have a bridge.
  8. A more durable alternative to a dental bridge or dentures
  9. A more conservative approach than bridge or dentures 

Benefits of Dental Implant

  1. There is no risk of getting cavities
  2. Fixed to the jaw bone
  3. Closet to having your own teeth
  4. Conservative, no shaving of the adjacent teeth

According to the evidence, implants have a success rate of over 95%. There are still some risk factors that are responsible for less than 5% of the failure rate. The implant can fail from the implant post or the crown on top of the post. Some of the medical and dental risk factors are listed below.

Medical Risk Factors  

  1. Uncontrolled diabetes  
  2. Autoimmune disease
  3. Smoking
  4. Poor health with multiple medications
  5. Radiation therapy from oral cancer
  6. Long term bisphosphonate use

Dental Risk Factors

  1. Insufficient bone
  2. Insufficient thick gum or keratinized tissue
  3. Bite is not even
  4. Poor oral hygiene
  5. Gum disease

Getting a Dental Implant

For the long-term success of dental implant therapy, you must have a proper treatment plan in place. The treatment planning process should start with the general dentist, properly trained general dentists are more familiar with the patients, know the bite, where your teeth should be set up according to your smile and how the top and bottom teeth should fit together versus a specialist, who may just be specialized in surgery. 

The implant’s surgical placement can be done by a general dentist, a dental specialist such as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (oral surgeon), periodontist or prosthodontist.

Requirements for a Proper Treatment Plan

  1. Photos to check for the alignment of the teeth 
  2. Models of the teeth
  3. 2D or 3D imaging

Virtual Treatment Planning with 3D imaging offers precise modelling. It helps with the assessment and reduction of surgical risks ahead of the procedure and minimizing with accurate 3D imaging and modelling.

Surgical Risk Factors

  1. Bone width and height
  2. Nerve localization
  3. Sinus evaluation

3D dental imaging (CBCT) can minimize most of the surgical risk factors. The implant placement process is done with the help of a surgical guide; the guide allows for the implant’s exact placement. 

After the Surgery

As with any surgery, there might be some discomfort or issues (see the list below). After the typical healing process of one to two weeks, everything should be back to normal.

  1. Swelling
  2. Bruising
  3. Muscle pain
  4. TMJ pain  

After the placement of the implant, the implant is restored with the crown within 3 months. It may take a few days for the tongue, the teeth and the cheek to get used to having the crown.

Signs of a Successful Implant (Crown)

  1. Chew better
  2. Speak normally
  3. Better esthetics
  4. Less plaque 

What to Expect After Getting a Dental Implant

  1. Chewing will take a few months to get used to
  2. Speech may take a few weeks to get used to
  3. Implants cannot be cleaned the same way as natural teeth
  4. The bite will feel different and might need to be adjusted

How Long an Implant Lasts

Implant posts can potentially last forever. However, the crown or prosthesis part of the implant may last from 7-15 years. If you lost the original tooth due to trauma, the probability of keeping the implant post forever is high. If you lost the original tooth due to gum disease, then the probability of keeping the implant post is less.  

Types of Implant

Most of today’s implants are of root form, others are subperiosteal and zygomatic. Root form can be of titanium alloy or zirconium.

Cost of a Dental Implant

The pricing for an implant can vary widely. It depends on how much native bone is available for the implant post to be mounted on. Bone graft alone can cost in the range of $1,500 to $3,000. Similarly, a gum graft might be needed, which can cost anywhere from $700 to $3,000. Lastly, there is the cost for the lab to fabricate the implant and its crown. Overall, an implant’s total cost can be in the range of $2,500 to $4,500.

Current Trends in Dental Implants (NCBI)Factors Affecting the Survival Rate of Dental Implants (NCBI)

Dr. David Cheng

A practicing dentist with over 30 years of experience and more than 3500 hours of continuing studies. He lives in both Toronto, Canada and Seattle, WA. Besides writing for this website, he practices dentistry in different clinics in Canada and mentors other dentists in the USA and Canada.

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