Implants

Are Dental Implants For You?

When you have missing teeth, and desire a permanent replacement for the lost teeth, dental implants are the best solution. Dental implants are titanium metal ‘screws’ or replacements for tooth roots. They are meant to give support to dental prosthesis such as crowns, dental bridges and even dentures.

Titanium is mostly the choice of material for implants as they provide excellent biocompatibility and ‘osseo-integration’ with bone tissue and are known to attract bone-forming cells to better adapt themselves within the bone. This gives them excellent support within bone hence to the restoration they are meant to support.

When getting implants and having implant dentistry, the condition, quality and quantity of bone present is assessed by your dental surgeon and special care is taken to ensure that the inferior alveolar nerve (in the case of a mandibular implant) or a sinus (in the case of a maxillary implant) is not damaged in anyway. Space is created within the bone with hand osteotomes or drills for receipt of the implant. Once the implant is seated within the bone, it is allowed to heal for some time. When healed, the implant is now ready for supporting a restoration such as a crown. Healing time varies in implant dentistry with age and factors such as severity of the situation and the patient’s personal care such as maintenance of oral hygiene.

Factors like quality and quantity of bone are crucial to be considered when receiving implant dentistry. If the bone present is not enough or is too thin, a bone graft may be required to compensate for the lack of present bone tissue. Other factors like what kind of prosthesis is to be made are considered. This determines the size, length and diameter of the implant to be placed.

After having an implant placed, the patient must take very good care of the treated area as any non-compliance could cause failure or damage to the implant and surrounding bone. Smoking delays healing, so smoking must be stopped under all circumstances. Immediately after surgical placement of the implants, sucking on a straw, chewing hard food and any other activities that may cause more bleeding or further injury are highly contraindicated.

The long-term success rate of implants in implant dentistry is very high given that patients comply with all the given care instructions. Implants provide an excellent, permanent solution to missing teeth and the restorations that they support are highly successful in re-establishing the functional integrity of teeth. Always be sure to maintain good oral hygiene during and after implant treatment, and you can have the joys of re-establishing your perfect smile and chewing abilities for the rest of your life!

Dental Implants: From Insertion to Aftercare

Dental implants are posts that replicates your own tooth root. These implants are made to replace the root of a tooth, and an artificial tooth will be attached to the post.

How are dental implants placed?

When the exact position of the implant is determined, the cosmetic will drill an initial pilot hole into the jaw.

This hole will be slowly enlarged until the exact size of the implant is achieved. The screw of the implant is then screwed in place, the gum is then secured over it and a top screw is placed to protect the implant.

At this stage the implant will be left for a period so healing and osseontegration (fusing of the bone to the implant) can happen. This normally takes around 4-6 months.

On your next dental visit, your cosmetic dentist will uncover the top part of the dental implant and attach the (abutment) top part of the permanent implant to the screw.

When this is in place a temporary crown can be made and impressions can be taken for a crown to be made. Whilst the crown is being made, the temporary crown acts as a template and the gum slowly forms around it in a natural way.

The last step will be when the crown will be placed and your new tooth is complete.

How long will I take to recover after the dental implants procedure?

There are a number of things to take into consideration and it depends on your own personal healing process.

A good oral hygiene routine is vital. The fusing of the bone to the dental implants can also vary from person to person. When the first phase of the implant is completed, you should only experience slight discomfort, your gums and face may swell a little and its possible for a little bleeding.

Your cosmetic dentist can prescribe pain medication for you to relieve any discomfort you have.

Caring for your dental implants

For at least 5 days after the first phase of your implant placement you should only be chewing soft foods. There may be stitches that need to be removed after 5 days if dissolving ones are not used

Cleaning of the site is very important, as well as cleaning the temporary crown. The cleaning can be carried out as you would your normal teeth as it is vital for the gum to remain healthy and the fusing of the Dental Implant.

Flossing is also advised as any bacteria surrounding the implant could cause the implant failure.

Smoking also contributes to implant failure so it is best advised to not smoke after surgery.

What is a Dental Implant Abutment?

First we need to start with the dental implant and understand what that is.

A dental implant is one of several ways to give you teeth you don’t have. It’s basically a false tooth root, placed in your jaw bone to hold a permanent tooth or bridge.

The abutment

Attached to that implant is a metal piece to connect it to the outer crown. That in-between piece is called the dental implant abutment, also known as a prosthetic abutment.

Abutments are made with different materials:

  • Gold
  • Ceramic
  • Titanium
  • High noble metal

Which one is best is a matter of opinion. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Titanium responds really well to the gum tissue, as an implant attachment. However, gold seems to be best for porcelain crowns, lending itself to a more natural tooth shade. Ceramic abutments are sought after mainly because they don’t fracture easily, they have a pleasing appearance and allow light to get through the crown. And this gives the crown a more natural coloring.

Replacing one tooth

You can have an implant for one tooth replacement, instead of a regular bridge. The number one advantage with implants vs. a bridge is that the implant helps preserve the bone by integrating with your jawbone, keeping the bone from resorbing. Another advantage is that an implant is just like your own natural tooth, and can last a lifetime, with good care and diligent checkups.

Whereas a regular bridge can lead to gum recession around it, bone resorbtion and the cement that holds the bridge in place can sometimes deteriorate and wash out. This can lead to bacteria and decay in the teeth one either side that anchors the bridge. Another option is to have implants anchor your bridge, rather than having crowns done on either side as anchors.

How about replacing several teeth?

Not a problem. Your lost natural teeth will be replaced, as well as some of the roots. And the advantages over regular dentures are numerous, including all the advantages mentioned above. The implants will be as your natural teeth—no worry about looseness, speech problems, and watching carefully what you eat.

Back to the abutment

So even though you never see the abutment part of your implant, it plays a major role. And your dental professional will treat it with the respect it deserves.

If an abutment isn’t created properly, it CAN cause certain functional issues, aesthetic issues, and even failures in the crown because of poor support for the porcelain.

Your dental professional will know where to obtain good quality abutments, and how to install them.

After the implant is installed directly into the jawbone and allowing a few months to let the implant screw bond with the bone, the abutment is attached to the implant. Then the gums have a few weeks to heal. Last, the crown is placed on top, and Tada! You have a nice new smile.

Types of Dental Implants

There are 3 types of dental implants – yet all of them are made from titanium.

The titanium of dental implants is not only very successful at osseointegration (fusing with living bone), but also is a strong, corrosion-resistant metal with the highest strength-to-weight ratio.  Additional benefits of titanium include:

  • Strength
  • Light in weight
  • Non-magnetic
  • Poor conductor of heat and electricity
  • Imparts a brilliant white color due to its chemically inert property.

The three dental implants allow for versatility in accommodating the size and shape of the jawbone itself.

Plate Form Implant

This type of implant is inserted the jawbone when it is too narrow for a regular bone graft. It is quite effective in this situation since the implant itself is flat and long.  Anesthesia is administered and once it starts working, the dental implant specialist exposes the operative site of the jawbone and prepares the area for the implant.  Incisions and bone preparation is dependent on how many implants are necessary.  Once the implant is set into the proper position, the gums are sutured closed.

From this point, observation is 3-6 months for healing prior to restoration.

Root Form Implant

Shaped like the root of a tooth, this screw type is the most commonly used dental implant.  It is indicated when there is sufficient depth and width of the jawbone.

Anesthesia is administered and once deemed effective, the dental implant specialist exposes the jawbone area and prepares the bone.   The extent of bone preparation and incisions are dependent on the number of implants to be inserted.  The implant is inserted and the gums are sutured closed. Healing takes 3-6 months.

Subperiosteal Implant

If there is not enough jawbone measurements for the two mentioned implants, there is nothing to worry about.  This option takes this into consideration.

Subperiosteal implants are customized to sit on top of the jawbone and under the gums.  Customization takes one of two methods to tailor the plate specifically to each individual.

One technique is to take a CAT scan of the jawbone.  Using the CAT scan measurements, the jawbone is computer modeled.  Once the dental laboratory makes this, the jawbone is exposed after anesthetics are given and the implant is placed.  Gums are sutured closed and replacement teeth are then inserted.

An alternate method involves jawbone exposure with anesthesia so that an impression can be taken. A dental laboratory uses this mold to create the proper implant.  Once made, the jawbone is exposed once again and the implant is placed inside.  Gums are closed with sutures and replacement teeth inserted.

Recognizing which of these implants to use is common knowledge to the properly trained dental implant specialist so there is no need for worry!

Dental Implants Frequently Asked Questions

The decision to have dental implants inserted is such a personal one and it can be difficult.  So, when the decision is finally made, an individual usually wants to make an appointment and have it done-immediately- as in right NOW!

However, before running to have the implants inserted, there is some research to be done and there are questions to ask of your dental specialist.

Q. What type of anesthesia will be used?

Anesthesia typically involves intravenous sedation.  Because of this, the patient should avoid driving and operating heavy machinery for 24-36 hours.

Q. Who will place my implants?

The implants are placed by a specialist, specifically trained and certified in implants.  Training consists of 3 years of dental school and after showing proficiency in this and passing examinations, the dentist goes on to 2-3 years of specialty training with implants.

Q. What are the dentist’s qualifications and experience?

 See how many implants the dentist has placed prior to you and that he/she is certified by a specific licensing agency.

Q. How many visits will be necessary for the implants?

The number of visits will be dependent on whether the implant is porcelain or resin and whether it is fabricated by an outside dental laboratory or done in the office.  These variables must be discussed with the dental office so that there is no doubt or confusion as to how the process will take place.

Q. Am I a candidate for the procedure?

Not everyone is a candidate for implants.  Discuss this thoroughly with the reconstruction dentist including all medications that you are on, and you’re past history.

Q. Will all my treatments be done in one office location?

There are offices were there is an on-site laboratory for fabrication of the implants.  This is something that varies between offices and is a good question to have answered.

Q. Will there be special diagnostic or radiographic tests prior to dental implantation?

Many offices use CAT Scans and get a three-dimensional image including the location of the blood vessels, nerves and sinuses to optimize placement of the implants.

Q. What happens if an implant fails?

Should an implant fail, another one can be inserted in its place.  Should it be due to infection or gingivitis, the inflammation and infection needs to be treated first.

Q. How long do implants last?

This is dependent on how fastidious the individual is with oral hygiene, daily brushing, and elimination of smoking and diminished consumption of high sugar content food. They can last more than 15 years.

Q. Is there special care or follow-up for these implants?

After implants have been deemed successful, routine visits may be done in the regular family dental office.

Postoperative Instructions for Implants

The second stage of implants cannot be implemented until the gum, jawbone and operative site is healed.  So, following guidelines to hasten the healing process will be a way to hasten the completion of the implant procedure.

Mouth rinses devoid of alcoholic content should be used from the first day of surgery and used often, especially after each meal.  Using a toothbrush as usual helps to maintain proper oral hygiene.

Smoking impedes the healing process.  While many dentists may advise postponing smoking for at least 2-3 days after surgery, eliminating it from social habits would be much more beneficial.  Consider entering a smoking cessation program or plan prior to implant surgery so that tobacco dependence is not an issue.

Your diet is limited to liquids for the first 48 hours after implant surgery is started so that food debris is not lodged microscopically in the operative site and doesn’t contaminate the area.  A normal diet can be reinstituted depending upon your healing and any inflammation that may be present.

Daily vitamins, supplements and rest will encourage the healing process along aver surgery.

Mild bleeding or oozing after surgery is not unusual and gauze, which was inserted over the operative site, might need to be changed several times in the first 4 hours.  However, if active bleeding seems to be occurring, talking it over with the dental surgeon would be prudent.

Pain is a very subjective sensation.  For some, pain is not felt unless major surgery is performed; for others a small paper cut is agony. Therefore, the intensity of pain is not a reflection of the success of implant surgery or an ominous sign of complications developing. (although it can be!)

If pain is occurring, there are nonprescription analgesics that can eliminate or greatly diminish discomfort.  However, if the pain is unbearable despite the analgesics, the reconstructive dentist who performed the surgery should be informed.  An examination to rule out any developing problems might be necessary at this point.  If everything is deemed normal in terms of healing, a stronger analgesic can then be prescribed.

Cold or Ice pack application for the first 2 days after surgery can decrease any swelling or hematoma (blood collections) formation. Using the pack as prevention prior to edema (swelling) may keep this from occurring.

If general anesthesia was administered for the procedure, the elimination of it from your body may take 24-36 hours.  Therefore, no driving or usage of heavy machinery is prudent.  If the procedure was done with injections of needles, soreness may be present at the site of the injections.

Understanding and following these guidelines will decrease anxiety and help you on the road to recovery.

Dental Implants vs. Bridges

When you think of Grandma, quite often a picture of her teeth in a glass of water humorously comes to mind.  This is natural.  For the majority of the population, bridges were the main method of restoring teeth- a tried and true technique for compensating for a lost tooth by dental crowns on bridges anchored to adjacent teeth.

Now, with modern technology, dental implants are available as an option for many more people. Here, a titanium screw type device, which acts similarly to roots of teeth, is inserted into the jawbone where the missing tooth originally resided.  When healing has taken place (about 2-3 months), a small tooth (abutment) is adhered to that device. A crown, which is made to look like a tooth, is attached over the abutment.  Now, you have what appears to be a tooth, replacing the missed one.  It has both the function, natural look and feel of the original.

Caring for the implant is the same as for all natural teeth including brushing and flossing to prevent tartar and plaque buildup as well as decay or gingivitis surrounding the implant.

Bridges are not as long lasting or durable for loss of teeth.  Since the crown, representing the lost tooth and now occupying its space, is connected to surrounding teeth, any problems that occur with these adjacent teeth will negate the function and placement of the bridge.  It will need to be devised again and replaced.  Also with a shift in the occlusion (bite) or malocclusion (bite which does not meet properly between top and bottom sets of teeth), breakage of the bridge or slight fractures is apt to occur.

Bone and gingival complications can occur with improper care of bridges. It is not unlikely (especially with a permanent bridge) for food particles and debris to lodge between the device and adjacent teeth. Without fastidious flossing technique application, this particulate matter will fester, creating decay and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)

There is a significant time difference between dental implants and bridges due to the nature of reconstruction and insertion of each.  The bridge can be implemented for a patient in a much shorter time, considering that with an implant, the operative site must take 2-3 months healing before the second stage of the procedure can be performed.

Yet, in the long term, bridges will need to be replaced and redesigned, making up for additional time that was saved over implants.

Thus, dental implants, which give more permanence to a gap from lost teeth, have advantages over bridges, for those people that are candidates.

The natural look and feel of your implants makes you feel that you have grown another set of teeth.

Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Before considering a consultation with your dental implant specialist, take a good look at yourself, your health and your habits.

Are you in good health?  If you have diabetes is it under control?  How about hypertension?  Having diabetes, high blood pressure, immunosuppressive disorders, and cardiovascular problems may cause constricted blood vessels leading to decrease blood flow to surgical sites.  Consider taking care of all medical problems first.

Success of dental implantations depends on the state of blood vessels transporting the needed blood for nutritional and oxygen exchanges for healing as well as the state of bone.

Do you smoke?  In addition to the tar, which gets deposited along the gum lines and causes teeth discoloration, there is more than just a cosmetic complication with tobacco products.  Although the exact etiology has not been pinpointed, a strong correlation suggests that the nicotine in cigarettes (which has been proven to constrict blood vessels) causes a decreased blood flow to the implantation sites, impeding the healing process and thereby causing a much higher rate for failure or rejection of the implant.

Consider discontinuing all tobacco products first.  This may necessitate a smoking cessation program, which to be successful, may take 10-12 weeks.  Waiting for 4-6 months for urges to dissipate and improved health to return, will increase the success rate of dental implant placements.

Are you taking biphosphonates for treatment of osteoporosis?  Notify your dentist about this.  It has been

discovered that while this drug can increase bone mass density and reduce fractures in the hips, it is associated with resorption of bone along the jaw.  This would doom your implant procedure to failure.

Do you suffer from bruxism? (Excessive grinding of teeth and clenching your jaw at night)  Let your dentist know (although your teeth may tell on you).  Grinding your teeth puts undue pressure on any dental implants.  However, this problem can be readily addressed by sleeping with a dental guard that the dentist can make from a mold of your dentition to prevent the effects of this grinding.

How long has it been since you have lost the tooth that you want replaced with an implant?  Gaps in dentition due to loss of teeth cause shifting of the surrounding teeth.  In addition to this, the jawbone starts to undergo thinning of the bone in the area of the missing tooth (resorption).  Bone decrease in the implantation site will cause a greater risk of failure from the implant adapting to its surgical site. For the implant to take, the adjacent bone must bond with the implant (osseo integration).  If there is not enough healthy bone at the surgical site, this integration cannot take place.

Should this be your problem, have no worries.  Your dentist has two solutions that can still make you eligible for dental implants. The first involves a special type of implant that sits above the bone but under the gum line.  The second one involves grafting of bone.

When dental implants are inserted properly, they can last 15-25 years.  Perhaps even longer as newer techniques are devised.

So, cheer up!  Having functional, beautiful teeth with no gaps may be yours with treatment from your dental implant specialist.

Dental Implants South Africa

South Africa is one of the forefront countries chosen by patients for dental implant surgery. With many well-qualified dental implant specialists to choose from around the country, Dental Implants South Africa is all about state-of-the-art surgical precision equipment and materials teamed with qualified specialists.

Dental Implants South Africa: Qualifications

The qualifications for a dentist who chooses to specialize in dental implants in South Africa is very specific. A dental qualification of a 5-year degree is standard in South Africa. This degree prepares the dentist for all the dental preventative tasks needed to take care of all your dental needs.

A general dental degree includes extensive knowledge and application of the following areas of dentistry:

  • Teeth extraction
  • Cavity filling
  • X-rays
  • Administering all forms of anesthetics
  • Prescribing medications
  • Treatment of gum disease
  • Straightening of teeth

Dental implants South Africa are carried out only by dental professionals who study further to specialize in Prostodontics. Prostodontists are specialized dentists that have achieved a postgraduate accredited degree. The dental implants South Africa qualification is an additional 4 year program, which is full time and can be chosen after the dental degree. Prostodontists have in total a 9 year study period in South Africa and this can then lead to a Masters or an M.dent qualification. You can thus be assured that your dental implant specialist is highly trained and knowledgeable about implantology.

The prosthodontic specialty involves study, diagnosis of dental implant problems, treatment plans for dental implants and missing teeth. A prostodontist solves the problems arising from missing teeth in your mouth. Dental implants or dentures are the most popular forms of restorations for missing teeth.
However a dental bridge can also be used and the prostodontist will have the skills to advise the best route for you.

Missing teeth can cause a variety of dental and medical problems and management of this must be monitored closely. Joint muscles can cause pain if there is not a full set of teeth allowing the distribution of the power of the jaw bone resulting in incorrect biting. Muscle spasms and occlusal biting problem will then occur effecting the chewing process.

Dental Implants South Africa: Equipment

South Africa has also a wide range of state of the art equipment. Diagnostic equipment in the country today has never been better. From digital x-rays and intra oral cameras to bone density scanners Now most implants are possible due to the precise diagnostic tools.

Dental Implants Before and After

This article will talk about Dental Implants Before and After the procedure.

The dental implants procedure that replaces missing tooth (or teeth) is normally done in several stages. The entire process can take anywhere from 3-6 months in some cases it may take longer. This sounds like a daunting thought, but the healing process is something that cannot be controlled or sped-up.
New bone has to grow onto your existing bone and this can take quite some time. Normally the implant screw will be paced surgically into your jawbone and has to take its time to heal and attach to the existing bone.

Dental Implants Before The Procedure

Sometimes bone graphs may be needed before the implants procedure begins. This occurs when the existing jawbone is not as thick as required. A piece of bone removed from another part of your body can be used. Your dentist will discuss with you the best area to take bone from. The bone will be placed in the area the implant abutment will be needed. A flat incision made in your gum to expose your jawbone.This graph will need several months to adhere to your existing bone as a good solid structure will be needed to place the implant screw.

Placement of the implant screw

This procedure is also done surgically, but generally happens in the dental chair and thus you will not need hospitalization. Firstly, the bone is exposed. A small hole is then drilled into the jawbone gradually getting larger until it is the exact mm required for the dental implant screw. This screw is then placed firmly into the new hole and it is screwed securely into place. It act as the root of a tooth so it is vital for it to be completely stable and secure.The screw is the covered again by the gum as time will be needed for healing and for the screw to integrate onto the existing jawbone.
At this point a temporary tooth structure can be placed so there won’t be a gap I your mouth for the duration of the healing period.

Dental Implants After The Procedure

Healing Periods

Osseointegration is the correct word for the growth of the jawbone onto the dental implant. This can take up to six months to happen, but your dentist will check you frequently to ensure everything runs smoothly. This is important as this will need to be stable as it will form a solid base for your permanent tooth, exactly the same as your natural root would.

Tooth Placement

As soon as the entire Osseointegration process has been completed a permanent tooth can be placed on top of the existing tooth implant. An abutment will be placed over the crew and the scre to enable the secure fit of a crown ontop of it.
This is a minor surgical procedure and it can be carried out with just localized anesthetic.
This abutment protrudes from the gum and a final porcelain crown can be cemented to the abutment.
A check of the patients bite is the final step in your journey to your new permanent tooth.

We hope this explains the details of dental implants before and after a bit better.