Dental implants are a reliable, long-lasting solution for replacing missing teeth and supporting dentures. Depending on the case, the procedure can be done in one day or may require multiple visits over several months.
Let’s find out what exactly is included in the dental implant procedure. What are the different types, placements and materials of implants? What are their advantages? Who stands to benefit from this treatment? What are the steps of the treatment, and how long does it take? What does aftercare look like? What are the factors that are affecting the cost? Let’s have a comprehensive look into all that dental implants entail, from consultation to surgery and more.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a unique dental procedure that can replace a single missing tooth or several teeth in the dental arch. The implant, which is a small post crafted out of titanium, this surgical device is securely embedded into the jawbone beneath your gum tissue. That creates an artificial root for the dental prosthetic that acts like a natural tooth root and helps to prevent future dental deterioration.
Depending on the dental situation, it may be necessary to undergo a bone graft before having dental implant treatment. Dental implants provide a more aesthetically pleasing outcome than other alternatives, such as removable dentures, as they look and feel like natural teeth.
Types of dental implants
- Single tooth implants: These implants replace just one missing tooth, providing a durable and natural-looking restoration that blends in with the rest of your smile.
- Multiple teeth implants: This type is ideal for replacing several teeth in a row, saving time and cost without repetitive restorations
- Full-mouth reconstruction: This type can help in sports injuries causing multiple missing teeth, and any other case needs replacing all teeth in one go as full restoration.
- All-On-4 implants: This type is very popular as it uses four strategically placed implants to provide robust support for a complete arch of prosthetic teeth, providing a secure and aesthetically pleasing restoration.
Types of dental implant placements
Endosteal Dental Implants
Endosteal dental implants are the most commonly used type due to their affordability and durability. Endosteal implants are made from titanium and resemble screws or cylinders placed directly into the jawbone. These implants act as artificial tooth roots and provide a strong foundation for prosthetic teeth or bridges. This type of implant is ideal for those with healthy jaw bones which don’t need to replace multiple teeth in one area.
Subperiosteal Dental Implants
Subperiosteal dental implants are an alternative to endosteal implants for those who don’t have enough bone height in their jaw bone to support an endosteal implant. Subperiosteal implants have a metal framework placed beneath the gum and above the jawbone. The posts on this framework then act as anchors for prosthetic teeth or bridges. This type of implant is often recommended for those who need to replace multiple teeth in one area, such as with a bridge or denture plate.
Immediate-load Dental Implants
Immediate-load dental implants are a new option for those who don’t want to wait months or years before they can start enjoying their restored smile. With immediate-load dental implants, patients can get their new teeth placed immediately after the initial implant placement process.
Unlike traditional endosteal or subperiosteal implants, immediate-load dental implants require only two visits instead of three – meaning patients can get their new smile faster than ever before!
Materials used in dental implants
Different materials are used in dental implant restoration, such as zirconia or e-max, but titanium is the most commonly used one. Titanium offers strength and durability; also, being a biocompatible material, it’s well tolerated by the body and not rejected.
Are you an ideal candidate for dental implants?
To be eligible for dental implant surgery, a patient should typically have:
- Sufficient bone density in the jaw area.
- A healthy immune system.
- Healthy teeth and gums without active gum disease, periodontitis or decay of neighbouring teeth.
- Had prior successful dental surgeries or implant placements.
- Realistic expectations of surgery and the healing process.
- Commitment to follow the post-operative instructions provided by their dentist.
Who may not be suitable for dental implants?
- Patients with a history of chronic diseases, such as uncontrolled diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
- Smokers, as implant success rates tend to be lower in smokers than non-smokers due to decreased blood flow to the gum area.
- Patients who suffer from bruxism or teeth grinding, as these can lead to accelerated wear and tear of the dental implants.
In any event, only a qualified dentist, after a detailed consultation, can assess a patient’s eligibility for this treatment.
Procedure for Getting Dental Implants
Before receiving dental implants, you must visit your dentist or oral surgeon for a consultation. During the consultation, your doctor will review your medical history and perform diagnostic tests to ensure you qualify for dental implant treatment.
Besides the actual dental implant placement, patients might need supplementary procedures done in preparation to maximise the success and the longevity of their dental implants:
- Bone grafting: Sometimes, patients may need to have a bone grafting procedure before their dental implant placement. That is usually necessary when the jawbone has deteriorated due to missing teeth or periodontal disease. During the bone graft procedure, your doctor will use donor tissue or artificial material to build up and strengthen the area where the implant will be placed. That helps ensure the implant is properly stabilised and provides an effective foundation for a successful restoration.
- Sinus augmentation: This procedure increases the bone in the upper jaw. That can be very helpful for those with naturally narrow sinuses leading to more successful dental implant procedures.
- Ridge modification: If you have a sunken-in area in the gums due to missing teeth, ridge modification can provide additional support for the implant and create more natural-looking results.
Placement of the Implant
The implant procedure is a minor surgery where the titanium post and abutment are placed into your jawbone. Depending on your case, that can be done in one visit or may require multiple visits. During the placement of the metal implant post, you will be given local anaesthesia to help minimise any discomfort.
After the implant is placed, a process called “osseointegration” begins, in which the implant fuses with your jawbone and forms a stable base for the restoration. Osseointegration usually takes several months, depending on individual factors.
During this time, you must take extra care of your implant to ensure successful osseointegration. You might experience mild swelling and discomfort, but your dentist can prescribe medication to help alleviate these symptoms.
Abutment placement and restoration
Once osseointegration is complete, the abutment can be placed. The abutment serves as a miniature metal connector, forming an integral link between two structures that allows your doctor to attach the dental prosthetic (crown, bridge or denture) to the implant. Once the abutment is in place, your doctor will take an impression of your mouth so they can fabricate a custom restoration for you.
Placement of the restoration
Custom restorations are created in a laboratory. Once the restoration is ready, you will return to the office for the final placement. The restoration will be attached to the abutment, and your smile will be restored!
What is the duration of a dental implant procedure?
The timeline for a dental implant procedure varies from patient to patient. Depending on the number of implants and the case’s complexity, it can take anywhere from one visit to several months for the entire process to be completed. It is important to discuss your timeline with your dentist or oral surgeon so that you know what to expect throughout each stage of treatment.
Aftercare for Dental Implants
Once your dental implants have been successfully placed, here is how to care for them:
- Adhere to your dentist’s instructions carefully for optimal results. That includes any dietary restrictions or medications prescribed during this time.
- Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol in excess, as these activities can delay healing time significantly.
- Try to brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss regularly to remove plaque buildup from around the area of the implant post. That helps prevent gum disease and other complications from occurring down the line.
- Visit your dentist on a regular basis every six months to monitor any changes or adjustments that may need to be made over time for your implants to remain healthy and functional long-term.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer several advantages, such as:
- Enhanced looks: Dental implants feel like real teeth and add structure to the face, giving you a more youthful and attractive look and an aesthetically pleasing smile that will surely draw compliments!
- Healthier and stronger mouth: With dental implants, you don’t have to sacrifice the health of your other teeth to replace missing ones. More of your natural teeth are left intact. It doesn’t get much better than that!
- Improved speech: Dentures can slip and make it difficult to speak clearly. Dental implants allow you to speak without worrying that your teeth will slip.
- Enhanced comfort: Dentures can be uncomfortable and painful to wear. Dental implants are comfortable and secure, making them a desirable option for patients.
- Low maintenance: You care for dental implants just like you do for your natural teeth. There is no need for special cleaning solutions or adhesives, as is the case with dentures.
- Durability: Achieve a lifetime of dental health! With the proper attention, your dental implants will remain resilient for years.
- Prevention of bone loss: Jawbones need stimulation from the roots of teeth to stay healthy and strong. When teeth are absent, the jawbone can start to resorb. Fortunately, dental implants help to prevent future bone loss and also encourage new jawbone growth.
Dental implant cost
The expense of dental implants can be highly variable, contingent upon the type of implant and treatment required. Generally speaking, a single-tooth implant with a crown starts at around $2000, while a full arch replacement starts at around $20,000.
Your dentist can provide a precise cost estimate for your treatment once they have examined your mouth and assessed your needs. There are several factors affecting the cost of the treatment:
Number of teeth being replaced
One of the biggest factors affecting the cost of the dental implant process is the number of teeth being replaced. It will cost more to replace all of your teeth than it will to replace just one tooth.
The good news is that dental implants replace either one missing tooth or an entire arch of teeth. So no matter how many teeth you need to replace, there’s a dental implant solution.
Type of implant placement
The cost of dental implants is also affected by the type of implant being used. In general, endosteal implants are more expensive than subperiosteal implants because they require more complex surgery.
Location of the implant
The location of the implant can also affect its cost. Implants placed in the front part of your mouth (incisors and canine teeth) typically cost less than implants placed in the back of your mouth (premolars and molars).
That is because placing an implant in the back of your mouth requires more complex surgery than placing an implant in the front part of your mouth.
Location of the clinic
Finally, the cost of dental implants can vary depending on where you are getting them done. Dentists in major cities charge more than dentists in smaller towns or rural areas. That is because they have higher overhead costs and may not be able to provide a competitive price compared to their counterparts in smaller towns.
Dental implants are a time-tested and evidenced solution to replace lost teeth, restoring natural function and beauty. They also provide several advantages over other tooth replacement options. If you are considering getting dental implants, you must talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about whether they suit you.
In the end, dental implants are a great solution if you want to bolster your smile and maintain good oral health.
At Casey Dentists, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality care for our patients considering dental implants. Our experienced dental team uses the latest technology to ensure that your dental implant treatment has the best possible outcome. Contact us today to learn how Casey Dentists can help with your dental implant journey!
To book your free consultation, please call us at (07) 4801 7035.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Dental Implant Procedure: What to Know | Healthline
Dental implant surgery – Mayo Clinic
Dental Implant Procedures – American Academy of Periodontology