When one suffered tooth loss, the patient and the dentist are facing two questions. The first question is: should I replace the missing tooth? The second is: what is the best way to replace it?
Options for Tooth Replacement
Several restorative options for the treatment of missing teeth are recognized as accepted dental therapy, depending on the particular circumstances the patient presents. These include:
- Tissue-supported removable partial dentures
- Tooth-supported bridges
- Implant-supported teeth
Likewise, there are two basic options for replacing teeth in a completely edentulous arch:
- Tissue-supported removable complete dentures
- Implant-supported over-dentures
What is Dental Implant?
A Dental Implant is a bone-supported prosthesis, which is usually a replacement for the root of a tooth. The implant is placed where the root of the missing tooth used to be. The replacement root is then used to attach a replacement tooth. Like the other options, dental implants are used to replace missing teeth and restore masticatory function to an individual’s dentition.
Types of Dental Implants
The major types of dental Implants are osseointegrated and fibro integrated implants (such as the subperiosteal implant and the blade implant). The most widely accepted and successful implant today is the osseointegrated implant.
Strengths of Dental Implant
- Dental implants are strong, durable, and natural in appearance.
- Dental Implants offer a long-term solution to tooth loss.
- Dental Implants are usually not susceptible to caries attack
- Dental implants are less dependent than tooth- or tissue-supported prostheses (partial and complete dentures) on the remaining natural teeth.
- Dental implants may be used in conjunction with other restorative procedures for maximum effectiveness. For example, a single implant can serve to support a crown replacing a single missing tooth.
- Implants also can be used to support a dental bridge for the replacement of multiple missing teeth
- Can be used with dentures to increase stability and reduce gum tissue irritation.
- Another strategy for implant placement within narrow spaces is the incorporation of the mini-implant. Mini-implants may be used for small teeth and incisors.
- Failure in the osseointegration process. For example, if the implant is placed in a poor position, osseointegration may not take place.
- Dental implants may break or become infected (like natural teeth) and crowns may become loose.
- Can trigger peri-implantitis around dental implants due to poor oral hygiene. This disease is tantamount to the development of periodontitis (severe gum disease) around a natural tooth.
Factors that patient-dentist have to consider during consultation
The decision that the patient and the dentist will make together depends on several factors that are particular to individual patient circumstances. Among these are:
- The general health of the patient and any contraindications for the surgical implant procedure
- The configuration of the remaining teeth in the arch as well as the opposing arch
- The number of tooth spaces that need replacement by the dental prosthesis
- The preferences of the patient and his/her willingness to undergo a more invasive surgical procedure required by the dental implant option
- The relative cost of the implant option compared to the alternative; this choice, of course, could be that the patient decides not to replace the missing teeth with any dental prosthesis
Modern dental implants are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. They are typically placed in a single sitting but require a period of osseointegration. The integration with the bone of the jaws takes from 3 to 6 months to anchor and heal. After that period a dentist places a permanent restoration for the missing crown of the tooth on the implant
Reasons patients seek dental implant therapy:
- Facial appearance
Who is suitable to get Dental Implants?
Generally, an individual who is in good health to undergo oral surgery can be a candidate for a dental implant. Preferably a patient with healthy gums who has sufficient bone to hold the implant, dedicated to maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. But a candidate for a dental implant doesn’t necessarily mean one will undergo the procedure. A dental implant is an expensive procedure and one must have a budget to afford the costs.
Dental implants are among the most successful procedures in dentistry. A Dental Implant lasts long and is durable. If you are considering implants, visit your dental office for more direct information.