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What are dental implants?

Dental implants, also known as teeth implants or teeth transplants, are natural-looking alternatives to teeth that restore form, function, and aesthetics in people with missing teeth. The treatment usually lasts for 3-6 months. At the beginning of the treatment, the dentist performs dental implant surgery and fixes the implant post in the jaw bone.

There are primarily 3 types of dental implants:

  • Endosteal implants: Endosteal implants are the most common types of implants used, but for their success, the patient should have a good and healthy jawbone. 
  • Subperiosteal implants: Subperiosteal implants do not integrate with the jawbone, instead, they rest on top of the bone, attached to a metal frame placed under the gums. This implant is used if the patient can’t or doesn’t want to undergo ridge expansion/augmentation surgery.
  • Zygomatic implants: Zygomatic implants are rarely used, as they are only used for patients with an insufficient maxillary jaw bone. The implant is attached to the zygomatic bone (cheekbone) instead of the maxillary bone.

Once the implant has completely integrated with its surrounding bone, the abutment screw and crown are placed on the implant post. The implant can serve as an attachment for fixed dental crowns or for removable dental bridges in edentulous patients.

Book an appointment to know more about the best implant treatment for you.

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Best dental clinics for implant treatment near you

Best dental clinics for implant treatment near you

Pristyn Care is one of the most flourishing surgical providers in India. Here you can avail successful dental implant treatment at affordable prices. In addition to dental implant surgery, Pristyn Care dentists are experienced in providing jaw and ridge augmentation surgery to increase the chances of success of implant in patients with severe bone loss.

We have an advanced dental set up at all our clinics to ensure that you receive advanced dental treatment. Additionally, our dentists will provide you with tips for complete dental hygiene maintenance during and after the treatment. Book an appointment to know more.

What happens in dental implant placement treatment?

What happens in dental implant placement treatment?

Diagnosis

The diagnostic procedure for implants remains similar whether the patient needs one implant or more. First, the dentist will clean and polish your remaining teeth to examine the extent of periodontal disease and bone loss. Usually, bone loss is higher in completely edentulous patients due to a higher degree of occlusal forces on the jaws. 

Then, they will schedule radiographic scans like cephalogram, OPG, CT scan, etc., so they can evaluate the density and quality of the jaw bone. They will also use these scans to accurately measure the jaw dimensions, and map out the blood vessels and nerves around the operation site to avoid complications like hemorrhage and nerve injury during the surgery.

Finally, based on the results of the diagnostic tests, they will decide how many implants you need and formulate a treatment plan. Often the following factors are considered necessary for dental implant treatment:

  • One or more missing teeth
  • Fully grown jaw bone
  • Adequate bone space to secure the implant, even through grafting/augmentation surgery
  • Healthy oral tissues
  • Healthy immune system
  • Adequate budget and patience
  • Don’t smoke tobacco or are willing to quit

 

Treatment

Implant treatment begins with implant surgery. If you need ridge/jaw augmentation surgery, it may be performed either during the surgery or 2-3 months before the surgery, depending on the nature and extent of the surgery. On the day of the implant surgery, the dental surgeon creates an incision in the jaw and fits the post inside the bone. The number of implants fixed in a single surgery depends on the patient’s health, treatment plan, surgeon’s expertise, etc. Then, the incision is closed and the patient is released after 2-3 hours of observation to ensure there are no postoperative complications.

The patient has to come to the clinic every 2-3 weeks for postoperative consultations to ensure that there is no infection and that the post is undergoing osseointegration, a process by which the post fuses with the jawbone. Once the osseointegration process is complete, the surgeon will fix an abutment over the implant post.

The abutment serves as a connector between the dental bridge/crown and the implant post. It forms the support for the denture bridge and is the only visible part of the implant post. The dental crown or bridge is usually fixed at least 2 weeks after abutment placement.

How to prepare for dental implant surgery?

How to prepare for dental implant surgery?

  • Get a comprehensive dental examination: Get a comprehensive dental exam from your dentist. If you don’t, then there’s a chance that your dentist may select a wrong-size implant for you or the wrong position for implant placement. 
  • Start a course of medicines, if necessary: If you have a fever, oral pain or swelling, etc., then you should start a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine immediately to reduce the chances of post-surgical pain and complications.
  • Get jaw augmentation surgery, if necessary: If it’s been a long time since you lost your tooth, then there’s a chance that you’ve undergone bone degeneration in that area and may need bone grafting/augmentation surgery. Make sure you ask your dentist if you need the procedure and how long before the surgery will it be performed.
  • Schedule downtime after the surgery: After the surgery, you may need bed rest for 1-2 days, and you will need to take it easy for at least a week or so. Make sure you schedule some downtime after the surgery for proper rest and relaxation.
  • Research your dentist’s qualifications before treatment: Make sure you are choosing the right dentist for you. Failure of implant surgery can result in mild complications like the implant falling out to severe ones like facial paralysis. Your dentist should be expert and experienced in performing dental implant procedures. Read online reviews and look for referrals from your friends and family if possible.

What to expect after the dental implant surgery and treatment?

What to expect after the dental implant surgery and treatment?

After the surgery:

After the dental implant surgery, your surgeon will close the incision using sutures and place a dental pack to cover the surgical site as its healing. In most cases, if there is no infection, the sutures will be removed 7-10 days after the surgery. You will have pain and normal postoperative swelling in this region during the first 6-7 days, but they will be manageable through over-the-counter medications. 

After the sutures are removed, you won’t have any noticeable pain or discomfort, but you will have to visit your dentist for postoperative checkups once every 2-3 weeks to make sure the implant is integrating with its surrounding bone.

You need to maintain proper oral hygiene during this period to avoid infection. You also must avoid smoking and tobacco usage as they may delay the osseointegration and the overall recovery period. You should eat only warm or cold soft foods during this period to avoid them irritating your implant site.

After the treatment:

Once the crown is attached to your implant abutment, your dentist will provide you with proper dental hygiene maintenance and dietary restrictions you need to follow to ensure your dental implant success. Normally, you can eat most things after your dental implant placement, but if your implant is attached to a removable denture/bridge, you may not be able to eat hard foods. Gutka and tobacco chewing are also discouraged after the treatment as they can lead to poor oral hygiene and lead to implant failure.

When are dental implants required?

When are dental implants required?

Though most people get dental implants for aesthetic reasons, dental implants can be required for medical purposes in patients with

  • severe tooth loss, i.e., over 4-5 missing teeth on a single side of the dental arch
  • difficulty in chewing due to missing molars
  • food lodgement due to extra spaces between the teeth
  • severe degeneration in the edentulous jaw bone
  • speech impediments due to missing teeth
  • congenitally missing permanent teeth
  • completely edentulous patients
  • discomfort in using dentures or bridges
  • difficulty in maintaining oral hygiene due to missing tooth space, etc.

As dental implants are comparatively expensive and time-consuming treatments, dental implants are only suggested to patients who absolutely need them. Book an appointment with the best dentist near you if you think you may need dental treatment.

Benefits of dental implants

Benefits of dental implants

  • Dental implants are the closest alternative to natural teeth, functionally and aesthetically. They restore almost full chewing capacity to the patient and they feel almost exactly like normal teeth.
  • Dental implants usually last for a lifetime. They are easy to take care of and biocompatible, i.e., able to mesh with the body as if they belong there.
  • They prevent bone loss and generation that usually occurs in the jaws in the absence of teeth. Even dentures usually accelerate the bone loss instead of stopping it, therefore implants are the best option if you want to protect your facial and jaw length.
  • They keep the adjacent teeth stable and do not let them move or rotate from their current position.
  • They help prevent bad breath and periodontal (gum) disease by helping maintain oral hygiene.
  • They prevent facial sagging and premature signs of aging like extra wrinkles around the lips, thinning of lips, pointed chin, etc. that occurs due to bone loss and missing teeth.
  • They improve the overall appearance and quality of life of the patient by helping them eat whatever and whenever they want to, without any restrictions.

Recovery and results after dental implants

Recovery and results after dental implants

  • Be careful about your oral hygiene and eating habits during the implant treatment process. Immediately after the surgery, you should avoid carbonated beverages, alcohol, and hot food/drinks. You should also avoid using a straw before your sutures have been removed. Additionally, you should avoid foods that are too cold, chewy, rough, or spicy. You can eat warm soft and mushy foods such as beans, bananas, soft-serve ice cream, fruit juices, etc. 

You should massage the operated area using a cold compress on the face and avoid spitting for the first 24 hours. After the first 24 hours, you should rinse your mouth with warm salt water after every meal or snack to prevent food lodgement in the operated area. You should also visit your dentist for regular follow-up appointments to ensure there is no infection or delay in healing or osseointegration.

  • After implant crown placement, there is a short adjustment period of 1-2 weeks where the patient gets used to having the crown in their mouth. There are virtually no dietary restrictions for patients with fixed crowns after implant surgery. However, patients who get removable dentures after implant surgery may be unable to eat certain hard-to-chew foods. 

You have to maintain good oral hygiene after implant placement to ensure implant success in the long term, as poor oral hygiene can lead to further gum disease and bone loss surrounding the implants. If there is significant bone loss, the implant will lose its support making it easily visible in the oral cavity. Without adequate support, the implant-supported crown will also become mobile and prone to falling out.

FAQ Around Dental Implant

Are dental implants costly?

Dental implants are generally made of high-end biocompatible materials to ensure better surgical functional and aesthetic results. Thus, dental implants can be considered costly, however, the cost correlates with their advantages.

Do implants take a lot of time to heal?

No, the majority of the healing after dental implant surgery occurs within 7-10 days of the surgery. However, after that, you have to wait about 3-6 months for the implant post to bond with its surrounding bone, before you can get your crown/denture.

Will I be able to eat whatever I want after dental implants?

Yes, once the initial healing period is over, typically within 1-2 days of the implant placement, you can eat essentially whatever you want, including nuts, apples, chips, popcorn, candy, etc. However, you need to maintain good hygiene by brushing properly to ensure implant success.

Do I need to visit my dentist even after implant crown placement?

Yes, you should visit your dentist for regular checkups even after crown placement every 6-7 months for oral prophylaxis and make sure there is no problem with the implant.

What kind of dentist should I visit for dental implants?

Generally, all dentists with a postgraduate degree, such as periodontists, prosthodontists, oral surgeons, etc. are trained in dental implant treatment. You can also get implants from graduate dentists who’ve done an implantology diploma or certification course.

How long will I have to give up smoking after dental implant surgery?

You have to stay away from tobacco consumption for a minimum of 2 months after implant placement to ensure proper osseointegration between the implant and the jaw bone. Even after that, it is usually recommended to stop gutka or tobacco chewing as that can irritate the surgical site.

Can I get dental implants even if I have diabetes?

Yes, if your diabetes is managed and you are regularly taking diabetic medicines, then you can undergo implant surgery. However, before the surgery, you need approval from your regular physician.

Before and after comparison of dental implants

Before and after comparison of dental implants

Before: Gaps in teeth can ruin an otherwise perfect smile. Moreover, missing tooth space provides ample opportunity for the surrounding teeth to start migrating and taking their place. This ultimately leads to tooth misalignment, rotation, bending, etc. It also increases the occurrence of food lodgement between teeth which is one of the primary causes of tooth decay. Food lodgement also causes foul breath, oral candidiasis, and other oral problems. Gaps in teeth can even result in speech impediments like lisping and whistling sounds while speaking.

Moreover, all these problems, or even just one of these, can result in low self-confidence in a person. It inhibits their natural ability to smile freely. Multiple missing teeth lead to more occlusal pressure and forces on the jaw bone leading to faster jaw degeneration, loss of facial length, and aesthetics as well. 

After: The above-described problems can result in overall poor quality of life for the patient. A dental implant treatment will not just fill in the gaps between your teeth, it will rebuild and restructure your smile aesthetics. You will be able to smile freely without a second thought as the implant crown looks unbelievably realistic. They also fit in the mouth so comfortably that most patients forget they are there within a couple of days. As implants fill the missing space, they also cure any speech impediments the patient had before.

Moreover, you won’t have to stick to just soft foods or liquid diets as implants provide strong occlusal capacity making you perfectly able to eat whatever you want. They also integrate with the bone so perfectly that they provide more strength to the bone.

Types of dental implant treatments

Single-tooth implant

A single-tooth implant is a great option for people missing only one tooth in one-half of a dental arch. It is commonly only performed in patients who have a lisp (speech impediment) due to the missing tooth or if the missing tooth is an anterior tooth and is affecting the patient’s aesthetic appearance.

Implant-supported bridge

An implant-supported bridge is a dental bridge made of 3-5 teeth that are supported by implant posts. It is usually performed when a patient is missing multiple teeth in a row in a single arch. The dentist implants 2-3 implant posts for support and later uses those abutments for support for the dental bridge.

All-on-4 implant

All-on-4 implant is a process by which a completely edentulous arch is rehabilitated. During this treatment, the dental surgeon implants 4 implant posts in strategic positions over the arch to support a dental bridge made of a maximum of 14 teeth, i.e., 4 incisors, 2 canines, 4 premolars, and 4 molars.

All-on-6 implant

All-on-6 implant treatment is similar to all-on-4, i.e., it is performed for rehabilitation of an entire edentulous ridge. The dentist places 6 implant posts all over the ridge to support a maximum of 16 teeth, i.e., 4 incisors, 2 canines, 4 premolars, and 6 molars in an arch. It provides better support than all-on-4.

Different supplemental procedures for dental implant surgery success

Different supplemental procedures for dental implant surgery success

Often, over time, the jaw bone can become thin or soft, when there is a gap in the dental arch due to missing teeth. This is because, when teeth have been missing for a long time, the jaw bone does not receive necessary stimulation from the roots. Moreover, they are subjected to extra occlusal forces, which results in jaw resorption. In patients with only 1-3 missing teeth, sometimes jaw resorption can occur due to gum disease, or periodontitis. 

When there isn’t ample bone quality and quantity, the implant does not have enough tissues surrounding it for it to integrate with them properly, which can result in the failure of implants. To ensure dental implant success, often your dentists may perform supplemental surgery to improve bone density in the needed region at the time of the surgery or 1-2 months before the surgery. 

Different supplemental-implant surgeries that can help implant success and bone regrowth are:

  • Bone augmentation

Also known as bone grafting, bone augmentation is a surgery in which a small piece of bone is surgically grafted into the implant site. It is recommended when the patient doesn’t have sufficient bone density in the implant site to support the implant post. It is often performed 1-2 months before the surgery so that the jaw bone can integrate with the grafted bone and improve the weakened jaw bone.

  • Socket Preservation

Often, bone loss starts occurring directly after dental extraction. If the patient has already decided to get an implant surgery, then the dentist can perform socket preservation immediately after extraction to preserve the space for implant insertion, maintain bone density, eliminate jaw shrinkage and collapse of the surrounding gum and facial tissues, and create a strong foundation for implant placement. It can be done by placing bone or bone substitute into the socket left by the removed tooth which encourages the bone in the area to regenerate and heal. 

  • Ridge Modification

In some patients. Jaw bone resorbs in a way that the ridge becomes too narrow to support the implant. In such cases, the dentist can perform a ridge modification or ridge expansion surgery by grafting artificial or donated bone tissue to the bone-deficient jaw area. Over time, the pre-existing jaw tissue combines with the grafted tissue to strengthen the surgical area.

  • Sinus Augmentation

Also known as sinus lift or sinus elevation, this treatment is only performed for maxillary jaw resorption. When upper teeth are missing, the sinus cavity becomes larger leading to a further decrease in the quality of the jaw bone. The procedure is performed by adding bone below the sinus cavity.

  • Periodontal Treatment

If the patient has any gum disease, it can interfere with the chances of success of the implant, therefore it is important to treat any signs of gum disease (or periodontitis) before implant surgery.

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