What are the steps in implant therapy?
As with any dental procedure, a step by step process is required to obtain the best results. The process also depends on the number of teeth that are in need of replacement.
The implant, which is made from titanium and looks similar to a screw, is fixed into the jaw. From this point it is left to fuse with the bone, a process takes between two and three months. This bonding process allows the titanium screw to fix firmly in place so that it provides an anchoring point for the new tooth. Throughout this period a temporary tooth can be placed over the implant area to allow normal chewing to take place.
Once the implant has successfully fused to the bone, it might be necessary to fix an extension to it. This is called an abutment and it is the final process before the new tooth is put into place.
While the healing process is underway, the dentist will have had a crown made, which is then attached to the abutment. Once this final procedure has been completed, the biting capacity of the tooth is returned to normal.
Dental implant therapy can be used for several teeth as well. Dental implants will be fixed to replace the lost natural teeth and the roots. An implant supported bridge with new teeth affixed is used as the new teeth.
How effective and reliable the implant therapy?
The first dental implant was placed by Dr Branemark in 1960s. For the last few decades, implant is considered to be one of the most reliable and preferred treatment modality in dentistry. The esthetic and functional outcome created by the dental implants are spectacular compared to fixed metal ceramic fixed dentures.
Implant therapy has been in use for a number of decades and has proved its immense value over the use of full and partial dentures. The firmness of the new teeth that are created by implant therapy is superior to any other replacement tooth technology.
Dental implants do offer significant benefits for teeth replacement. They look and function just like normal teeth and when implant supported bridges are used to replace teeth they do not need any support. Other commonly used treatments when several teeth have been lost, such as fixed bridges or partial dentures that can be removed easily, depend on the support of adjacent teeth.
There are some significant additional benefits because, through the use of implant technology, the bone mass is maintained as the dental implants are thoroughly integrated into the jaw bone. This assists in maintaining the bone structure which is so important for facial shape. The other alternative is the removable partial denture or fixed bridge arrangement but some of the bone in this case that surrounded the tooth roots previously may start to deteriorate.
In the longer term, however, implants are far more aesthetic and useful and also much more comfortable compared to other tooth replacement options. Dental implants have proved their worth and provide a long-term benefit for any teeth that are missing and if they are looked after properly can last for the rest of a person’s life.
Who can have the implant therapy?
Everyone who has enough bone and no uncontrolled systemic disease can have the implant therapy. The candidate must have a good quality and shape of bone in the related area as well as good oral hygiene. However, children in puberty are not suitable as the development still goes on.