Dental Implants are surgical fixtures placed into the jawbone. Dental implants mainly work as they fuse with the bone. Hence, dental implants act as the replacement for the root of the missing tooth. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots.
Dental implants have greater stability. They do not affect the other strong teeth. This process of fusion is called osseointegration. Implants are made up of titanium which helps in integrating with the bone, without being recognized by a foreign object. Over time, technology and science have progressed to greatly improve the outcomes of dental implant placement. Today, the success rate for dental implants is close to 98%.
Implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or all the teeth. The goal of teeth replacement in dentistry is to restore function as well as esthetics.
In tooth replacement, there are three types
- removable dental appliance (complete denture or partial )
- fixed dental bridge
- dental Implants
Dentures are the more affordable option for replacing teeth but are the least desirable because of the inconvenience of a removable appliance in the mouth. Furthermore, dentures can affect one’s taste and sensory experience with food.
The dental bridge was the most common restorative option prior to the relatively recent shift to dental implant treatment. The main disadvantage to bridgework is the dependence on existing natural teeth for support. Implants are supported by bone only and do not affect surrounding natural teeth. Deciding on which option to choose depends on many factors like the location of the missing tooth or teeth, the quantity and quality of the jawbone where the dental implant is to be placed, the health of the patient, cost, and patient preference.
A dental surgeon examines the area to be considered for the dental implant and makes a clinical assessment of whether the patient is a good candidate for a dental implant.
There are great advantages to choosing a dental implant for tooth replacement over the other options. Dental implants are conservative in that missing teeth can be replaced without affecting or altering the adjacent teeth. Furthermore, because dental implants integrate into the bone structure, they are very stable and can have the look and feel of one’s own natural teeth.
While the primary function of implants is for teeth replacement, there are areas in which implants can assist in other dental procedures. Due to their stability, dental implants can be used to support a removable denture and provide a more secure and comfortable fit. In addition, for orthodontics procedures, dental mini-implants can act as temporary anchorage devices (TAD) to help move teeth to the desired position. These mini-implants are small and temporarily fixed to the bone while assisting in anchorage for teeth movement. They are subsequently removed after their function has been served.
For patients who have lost all their teeth due to decay or gum disease of the upper and/or lower arch, an option is available to provide a very stable and comfortable prosthesis using a minimal number of implants. One such is example is the “All-On-4” technique that was named by implant manufacturer Nobel Biocare. This technique gets its name from the idea that four implants can be used to replace all teeth in a single arch (upper or lower). The implants are strategically placed in areas of good strong bone, and a thin denture prosthesis is screwed into place. The All-On-4 technique provides teeth replacement that is stable (not removable) and feels like natural teeth compared to the older method of traditional (removable) complete dentures. Without a doubt, implant dentistry has allowed for more treatment options to replace single and multiple missing teeth with long-term stability and contributes to improved oral health.