Dental Implants- Teeth for life

What is a Dental implant?

Dental implant is a surgical component that can be thought of as an artificial root to which dental prosthesis like a crown bridge or dentures can be attached. The basis of dental implants is a biologic process called ‘Osseo integration’ in which the bone grows to the implant and bonds with it.

Advantages of Dental implants over conventional prosthesis-

  • Better fitting prosthesis due to Osseo integration of implant to bone.
  • Does not require cutting other natural teeth (bridges).
  • Prevents or reduces bone loss after tooth extraction.
  • More comfortable than dentures.

Stages of Implant placement

  1. Medical dental and social history to see if dental implants are suitable.
  2. Diagnostic tests including Study models, X-rays, Photographs, CT scans.
  3. Treatment of other dental problems including decay and gum disease.
  4. Surgical placement of the Implant.
  5. Fitting of implant abutment and impression making for final prosthesis.
  6. Attachment of artificial tooth to implant.

Risks of dental implant treatment

  • Surgical risks- General risks associated with surgery and anaesthetic as with any surgical procedure
  • Affected sinuses- In the upper jaw the implant may contact or perforate the sinus lining and cause sinusitis.
  • Fractured Jaw- Rarely the lower jay may fracture if it is inherently weak or thin
  • Nerve damage- The inferior dental nerve runs the length of the lower jaw. Contact of the implant to this nerve may cause temporary or permanent numbness to the lips and skin around the mouth on the same side.
  • Local infection- Local area around the implant may get infected.
  • Loose implant- Implant may fail to Osseo integrate with the bone and may fail.
  • Loose crown- The artificial crown may come loose and have to be recemented or screwed in.
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