A Guide to Dental Implants: Types, Benefits, and Risks
They say that ‘nothing you wear is more important than your smile.' True indeed, a smile makes the day. And, as Anthony Liccione says ‘Teeth aren't pearly, until your smile.' Every part of the body is important in its own ways. Teeth, the most prominent feature on a person's face doesn't only enhance the beauty factor, but it is essential for enjoying the food of your taste and choice. However, with the growing age or factors such as tooth decay, injury or periodontal diseases, your set of teeth might get disturbed. One missing tooth destroys the entire look of a face.
In earlier times, bridges or dentures replaced missing teeth. However, with the advent of newer technologies and developments in the dental care industry, the concept of dental implants has arisen. In this article about dental implants, we will take a look on the types, benefits and risks among others.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a surgical component that is anchored to the jaw to support a dental prosthesis like a denture, bridge, crown or a facial prosthesis. The implant along with the dental prosthesis forms a false or artificial tooth that gives a natural look to your set of teeth. They complete the look and function as good as a real tooth, indicating that one doesn't have to modify their regular diet.
One can also look at dental implants as artificial tooth roots similar to the shape of screws. Once placed in the jaw bone, they form a bond with the natural bone, thus supporting like a stable base for artificial teeth. The abutment or a connector is placed above the implant to hold and support the crowns customized as per the required shape and size for a natural look.
Since the last three decades dentists are using this dental procedure, and if executed by trained professionals and experts, they can prove to be the safest procedures in the field of dentistry. Dental implants are said to be an exclusive dental restoration procedure that aids in the preservation of the natural bone. They are a permanent and realistic teeth replacement option that prevents deterioration of the jaw bone.
What are the common types of dental implant options?
- Endosteal: This is an ‘in the bone' procedure wherein various types of implants such as screws, blades or cylinders get placed in the jawbone. The implants then hold prosthesis. This procedure is standard for the patients with dentures or bridges.
- Subperiosteal: This is an ‘on the bone’ procedure wherein the implants are placed on top of the jaw, protruding through the gum supporting the prosthesis. This procedure is apt for those who can’t wear the conventional types of dentures or those who have minimal bone height.
- One tooth replacement: A simple and a commonly found procedure, this is meant for the children who accidentally lose a tooth or for those adults, whose baby teeth didn’t fell out.
- Multiple teeth replacement: This procedure varies from the single tooth replacement. As many teeth need replacement, instead of fitting individual implants, a mold as per the gum outline of the patient is created by the dentist. It gets installed by using three implants. Out of the three implants, two are fixed at either end of the mold and the third in the middle, forming a bridge-like structure.
- Full set replacement: Most popular among elders, this kind of procedure is one of the most complex as well as sensitive dental procedures. In this case, the dentist needs to fit an entire set of 32 teeth. The process demands a maximum number of implants, evenly split between the lower and upper jaw.
- Sinus Augmentation: The bone quality and quantity in the upper back jaw is quite weak. Also, the area's proximity to sinus makes any dental implant procedures very difficult. Sinus augmentation process raises the sinus floor and develops the bone for dental implants.
- Ridge modification: In cases of deformities in the jaws, dental implants become difficult. In such cases, gum is lifted away where the ridge is present, and then the defect is filled with bone or a substitute for bone. It fills up the ridge. Ridge modification improves the chances of successful dental implants.
Why dental implants?
Dental implants give a feeling that the artificial teeth are real. As they fuse with the bones itself, they are a permanent fix. In the case of multiple teeth loss or dentures, speech can get impaired. One tends to mumble and slur words. Teeth may also slip out in case of dentures while speaking. However, implants being permanent support no such risk is involved. Eating and chewing get easy and painless.
Moreover, dental implants improve oral health. They don't disturb the existing teeth, unlike a bridge that is supported by teeth. In the case of one or two teeth implants, access between the teeth isn't a problem, allowing maintaining oral hygiene.
Dental implants are also convenient in a way that you don't need to remove them like dentures, and neither does one has to deal with messy adhesives. That gives a lot of conveniences. Given the durability of implants, they last for an extended period and often lifetime, if well-maintained.
What are the potential risks?
Any surgery comes with risks and complications. It is crucial for the patient to be healthy enough and for the surgeon to have the necessary expertise before undertaking the operation. Dentists do a careful review of the existing medical conditions, bleeding disorders, infection, and allergies before the surgery. As reports reveal, the success rate is quite high in dental implant surgeries. However, in cases of unlikely events, the certain risk might be involved. Unlikely events include infection, overloading of implants, poor positioning of the implants, fracture of the implants, poor bone quality and quantity and damage to surrounding teeth, nerves and blood vessels.
Care and maintenance
Dental implants do not need any special care and maintenance, unlike dentures or bridges. Unless one suffers from bad gum conditions, maintaining proper oral hygiene is enough for taking care of dental implants. Post the surgery; avoid giving any stress to the teeth. In regular course, brushing, rinsing with anti-bacterial mouthwash, flossing, and regular check-ups ensures a good health condition of teeth.
Dental implants don't only make you look good, but also makes you feel good.