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Dental implants- Myth & Facts

by Shalini Bhardwaj

By Dr. Dheeraj Kumar Koli

Dental implants are screw shape devices used for anchorage for dental prosthesis i.e. crown, dentures inside the mouth. They are made of titanium alloy and serves as a replacement for the root of missing tooth. They are used in adults of all ages for the replacement of teeth missing due to trauma, decay, or if an individual born without teeth. An abutment is connected to the implant fixture and over the abutment; a tooth cap or denture was fixed to provide the functions. Once they are placed in the jaw bone, they form a bond with the bone and provide rigid base support for artificial teeth replacement.  They are indicated in adolescents once the facial growth is completed i.e. 16year for girls and 18 years for boys. Dental implants result in the restoration of the masticatory and cosmetic function of the individual so that the individual can enjoy his life confidently.

Q. How much time it takes to replace the teeth with the help of a dental implant?

A. Every patient depending on their need, medical and dental history and the health of supporting jawbones requires a customized treatment strategy. It can be 4 to 6 months for simple cases and up to 1 year for complex cases.

Q. Is dental implant treatment is safe.

A. Dental implants are a safe and effective procedure for the last 30 plus years. The implant dentist should educate the patient regarding the effect of certain medical conditions and habits like smoking which affect the success and prognosis of dental implants. Qualified dentists with highly competent skills will be able to manage the complications if any arises.

Q. Does dental implant is a painful procedure.

A. With the help of good anaesthesia the implant placement is relatively painless and the use of analgesic postoperatively reduces the discomfort and pain associated symptoms. Usually, patients return to their day to day activity from the next day post-implant placement.

Q. What are the steps for dental implant treatment?

A.  Dental implant requires following steps –

  • Pre-treatment examination involving oral cavity examination, X-rays, and 3-dimensional evaluation of bone quantity and quality. Design a treatment plan specific to the situation.
  • Dental implant placement under anaesthesia and management of post-operative symptoms like pain, mild swelling, and discomfort by the use of medicine.
  • It will take few months (3 to 6months) so, that firm bond formation between implant and bone. During the healing phase, soft biting is allowed to prevent premature implant loading.
  • After implant healing and abutment connected to the implant fixture and a dental crown will be attached to it.
  • Maintenance of good oral hygiene and periodic check-up is required for the long term health of the implants.

Q. Dental Implants VS Fixed Bridge

A.  Dental fixed bridge requires grinding of two adjacent teeth to provide support for the bridge for the missing tooth while a Dental Implant will be placed in the site of missing teeth without grinding the adjacent teeth. The ground teeth underneath the bridge have also become prone to decay and bone loss. So dental implants will be an effective way of restoring the natural smile.

Q. What are the different types of implants and techniques?

A. Dental implants are available in different sizes, shapes, and designs. The treating implant dentist will select the suitable implant type and the treatment for the clinical situations.

Q. What is the longevity of implants?

A. Dental implant longevity is good if the patients are following a good oral hygiene regime and regular follow-ups after dental implant therapy. The dental implant has a good survival rate of 15plus years if all the factors related to implant health like gums and bone health are controlled.

The writer is Dr. Dheeraj Kumar Koli who Associate Professor, Prosthodontics and Oral Implantology. Diplomate of World Congress of Oral Implantology, Japan Division, All India Institute of Medical Sciences New Delhi.

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