Dental implants is a reliable and clinicaly proven succesful method of replacing missing teeth. They have revolutionarized the way dentistry is practiced making available the option of partially or completely fixed rehabilitation of the dentition.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are made of titanium, the most widely used material in the case of osseointegrating medical implants (e.g. in a hip replacement surgery). Titanium is a biocompatible material, light yet strong which osseointegrates with the human bone, that is the titanium implants is tightly connected to the jaw bone and replaces the dental root. After the osseointegration, with the use of the proper abutments and connectors the implants can be used to suuport dental prostheses. Depending on the number and form of the implants and the number of missing teeth, the dental prostheses can either be fixed (from a single crown to a full arch implant supported bridge) or removable (implant supported dentures).
How are implants placed; (video)
A radiographic screening is done in the beggining to find the best prosthetically implant location. After the radiographic assessment , the implants are surgically positioned. Depending on the bone quality a waitng period of 1-6 weeks is expected for the implant to osseointegrate. In a second appointment the prosthetic abbutments are placed and impressions are taken to fabricate the dental prostheses.
Wit implants we can replace from a single tooth (avoiding the classic bridge with the preparation of adjacent teeth) to larger and more extended bridges with the use of more implants. A whole arch can be restored with a fixed bridge with the adequate number of implants (usually 8 implants on the upper arch and 6 on the lower).
In case that the ideal number of implants cannot be placed for a fixed restoration, a removable restoration can be placed supported on a minimum number of implants (4 on the upper, 2 on the lower). This removable prostheses can provide adequate support and function with a minimum cost. This way, the covering of the palate can be avoided on the upper denture whereas a 2 implant supported lower denture is the standard of care for the restoration of an edentulous lower jaw. .
Can anybody have implants?
During the treatment planning a complete medical history is taken an a radiographic examination is carried out to check the proposed implant placement site. For the majority of people, implants can be placed with a success rate of osseointegration up to 95%. Some conditions (such as smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, teeth grinding) can be regarded as a relative contraindication because they have showed a reduction of the survival rate of implants.
You can see here cases restored with implants.