DENTAL IMPLANTS: WHAT TREATMENTS, WHY AND WHEN?
Implantology is a branch of dental surgery dedicated to dental implants. This surgical procedure is performed under local anaesthesia, and is therefore painless. It is based on a precise clinical and radiological examination of the surgical dental site.
What is a dental implant?
An implant is an artificial root that most often takes the form of a screw, usually composed of titanium, which can be inserted into the maxillary bone. It replaces the root of the missing tooth. A denture is then attached to this artificial post.
The implant technique allows for the:
- Replacement of a single tooth
- Filling of an empty space between teeth (two or more teeth)
- Extension of a shortened dental arch
- Creation of a prosthesis supported by implants
Placing an implant does not only fulfil an aesthetic goal; indeed, a missing tooth can be limiting – especially for chewing. It can also cause the adjacent teeth to move.
When a patient has one or more missing teeth, dental implants have a number of benefits, as they:
- Enable the placement of fixed or removable prostheses
- Ensure no change to the adjacent teeth or enamel
- Offer better stability of artificial teeth, facilitating chewing and patient comfort
- Give the feel of natural teeth, functionally and aesthetically
- Are a reliable, long-term solution as they very rarely need to be replaced
The components of the dental prosthesis supported by an implant:
The crown supported by an implant
Made in the dental prosthesis laboratory from a dental impression, it can either be screwed to the implant post, or sealed. In general, the bone builds back up around the implant over a period of a few weeks to a few months, after which time the crown can be placed. While immediate crown placement during an immediate treatment is indeed possible in some cases, it can decrease the success rate.
The implant post
Following the healing period, a linking element (or “abutment”) between the implant and the crown is screwed onto the implant during a small surgical procedure. There are also implant systems that do not require any post.
What does follow-up and care look like following the placement of an implant?
Regular professional follow-up by the dentist and dental hygienist, as well as good personal oral hygiene by the patient, are important conditions for the long-term success of implant therapy.
In practice, a twice-yearly implant check-up by the dentist or dental hygienist to detect and treat the possible onset of inflammatory changes in a timely manner has proven successful. However, in patients with periodontal risk, more check-ups (up to 4 per year) may be required.
After losing a tooth, how long should one wait to put in an implant?
At the time of implant, the maxillary bone must be healthy. After the loss of a tooth, the waiting time depends on the initial situation. If an infection has resulted in tooth loss, it is recommended to wait at least one month. If there is a bone infection, the infection must be fully healed; this is determined by X-ray.
How long is the treatment?
Treatment time usually ranges between 3 and 9 months. This time frame can extend beyond one year if teeth have to be extracted, or bone mass increased.
Up until what age can implants be placed?
There is no age limit for implants, since the patient heals normally. The minimum age for an implant is 18 years, though, as the patient must have stopped growing.
Is the treatment painful?
The surgery is performed under local anaesthesia and is therefore painless. Post-operative pain is treated with painkillers.
Can one work after treatment?
Most patients can go back to work the day after the procedure. However, as with any other dental procedures, mild pain and slight swelling can occur. In rare cases, bruising may form on the face.
Find more at www.fondationimplants.ch.
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