A big portion of the population suffers from missing one or many teeth. This situation does not optimize health because it constraints the proper chewing of food, and these chewing forces weaken the remaining teeth in the mouth. For many years, the treatments for replacing absent teeth were bridges and dentures. Today, there are also implants.
An implant consists of a small cylinder generally made of titanium that is fixed in the bone of the jaw. It is a replacement of the root of a tooth that offers a solid base for prosthetic dentures or a crown, acting like a real tooth that is solid to chew with.
There are two types of implants:
- Removable dental implants that are not fixed to the bone of the jaw.
- Dental implants that are fixed to the bone by osteointegration, which means that the bone is in close connection with the implant, supporting an almost normal chewing.
Advantages of dental implants
- Appearance improvement, since implants resemble real teeth. In addition, since they are fused with the bone, the implants become permanent.
- Improvement of speech, contrary to regular dentures that can move when we speak, implants allow talking without being preoccupied with instability.
- Improvement of comfort, because implants become part of the mouth, giving the feeling of real teeth.
- Eating easier, contrary to regular dentures that can be unstable in the mouth.
- Dental implants do not require reducing the teeth next to them like it is done for bridges.
- Implants last many years. They require the same maintenance as real teeth, such as brushing, flossing, and regular visits at the dentist. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime, with the prosthetic or crown portion being changed every ten to fifteen years.
Success rate of implants
The success rate can vary depending on the area of the mouth where the implants are placed and the state of the bone supporting them. In general, implants succeed 97% of the time. With proper care, this success can last a lifetime. The success rate is lower for smokers. People with diabetes, heart problems, or people who have received radiation therapy to the head and neck have to be evaluated carefully before having implants done.
Steps in the placement of implants
- An individualized treatment plan is established by the dentist or the surgeon according to the needs of the patient, the state of the mouth, and its health.
- The “root” portion of the implant is then placed in the alveolar bone. This part of the implant made of titanium resembles a post of a few millimeters in diameter. This surgical intervention is done under local anesthesia either in a dental clinic or a hospital. When the bone heals, it becomes embedded all around the implant granting it a very solid anchor. Recovery takes few months.
- Once the implant is anchored in the alveolar bone, an abutment is attached to the implant where the crown or the dentures are held on.
- The dentist must take an impression of the abutments, as well as the other teeth of the mouth, if there are any, to make the crown or the dentures.
Ordre des Dentistes du Québec (www.odq.qc.ca)
The information above should be used as a reference only. Any medical decision should not be taken before consulting a health care professional.
The masculine gender may have been more used in the article, but without prejudice, to make reading easier.
- Bite splint
- Cantilever bridge
- Dental anesthesia
- Dental bridge
- Dental cleaning
- Dental crown
- Dental exam
- Dental extraction
- Dental fillings
- Dental implant
- Dental post
- Dental sealant
- Dental veneer
- Dental x-rays
- Dentures and partials
- Direct pulp capping
- Endodontic retreatment
- Facial mask
- Immediate denture
- Indirect pulp capping
- Indirect restoration
- Inlays and onlays
- Internal bleaching
- Laser cavity detection
- Lip bumper
- Maryland bridge
- Mini-implants or mini-screws for orthodontics
- Oral surgery
- Orthognathic surgery
- Palliative treatment
- Periodontal (gum) disease treatments
- Removable partial denture
- Root canal treatment
- Sinus lift
- Tooth whitening
- Wisdom teeth