Why is it important to replace one or more missing teeth?
In addition to aesthetic concerns (especially if it is a visible tooth), losing a tooth can lead to
- displacement of neighboring teeth and wear of other teeth
- a loss of bone in the place where the tooth was located,
- which can also complicate the subsequent placement of an implant
- significant bone loss can cause the gums to recede, resulting in a wrinkled lip contour and a sagging of the mouth at the chin.
- gum problems
- digestive problems may also occur due to poor chewing
- speech problems
- difficulty in chewing
- muscle and joint problems due to excessive stress of chewing forces on the existing teeth
When one or more teeth are lost, it may be necessary to place a dental implant. A dental implant is the best solution to replace your missing tooth permanently.
Why have a dental implant?
The goal of dental implant treatment is both aesthetic and functional. More than a permanent solution to restore a tooth, you will notice an improvement in your daily quality of life. You can smile, speak and enjoy all foods without any discomfort. It feels comfortable and natural.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root integrated into the jawbone to replace missing teeth or a defective root. It takes the form of a small titanium screw that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. (The body is very accepting of titanium, which is a noble and light metal. It is said to be biocompatible. The risk of rejection by your body after the operation is almost non-existent).
Dental implants come in different shapes and sizes to fit the needs and pathology of each patient. This wide variety ensures that the implant is perfectly integrated to obtain the best resistance and longevity of the implant.
Once fixed, the bone will heal, a period more or less long (about 3 months), the implant becomes totally integrated by the bone and will be part of the jaw.
The implant is then used as an attachment to fix a dental crown or a dental prosthesis (a bridge for example) to replace the lost tooth, which is intended to provide the same sensations and fulfill the same functions as natural teeth.
This modern and reliable technique avoids the realization of a conventional bridge – fixed on two teeth – which requires the grinding of the neighboring teeth and which carries a significant risk of fracture if it is carried out in the masticatory zone at the back of the mouth.
5 good tips to know
- A dental implant replaces one or more teeth without affecting the other teeth in the oral cavity and provides a fixed and comfortable prosthesis.
- A single missing tooth can destabilize the entire mouth. If it is not replaced, it is the first step towards a process of loosening or multiple edentulism. If you are concerned, ask your dentist for advice.
- As with your teeth, careful hygiene and regular check-ups are necessary to maintain the health of your dental implants. The use of an interdental brush is also recommended to clean the areas least accessible by your toothbrush.
- The same dental implant can also change function over the course of a lifetime: initially, it can serve as a support for a dental crown, then it can become the attachment for a mobile prosthesis later on. The procedure is common, simple to apply and consists of a sort of reverse extraction.
- For people with full dentures, the implant stabilizes and considerably improves their comfort. Indeed, the dental implant offers an optimal hold for a lower prosthesis and eliminates the plaque of the palate for the upper prosthesis thus rediscovering the flavours.
When is an implant placed?
An implant can be placed immediately after the extraction of a tooth, or after the bone and gum have healed. The surgical procedure is often simple and not very painful. It is done under local anesthesia in most cases as for the treatment of a cavity.
The advantages of the implant
- Restore your smile without touching your natural teeth – you preserve the surrounding healthy teeth (no need to grind them down like with a bridge)
- Maintain a youthful appearance – dental implants are also an ideal solution for replacing missing molars
- Function like a natural tooth – you can chew effectively again, avoiding digestive and general health problems.
- The jawbone is preserved – the loss of a tooth causes the jawbone to shrink. With an implant, the thickness of the bone will not shrink (unlike dentures)
- Biocompatible – titanium almost never causes allergies.
- Lifetime warranty – on some implant brands.
- The latest generation of prosthetic and implant solutions offer unparalleled longevity. They are more stable, more comfortable and more functional than conventional prostheses
- The retention stability of prosthetic solutions and implant-supported dental replacements offers strength, reliability and longevity similar to that of natural teeth
- Treatment safety: the technique of placing dental implants has been proven for over 50 years with a very high long-term success rate (over 90% at 15 years).
There are few contraindications to implant placement
The 7 steps of implant placement
1. Preliminary study
The dental surgeon begins by analyzing the patient’s history,
He will also perform a complete oral examination to check the condition of the patient’s teeth. All cavities and other dental problems must be treated before the procedure.
Finally, the practitioner will perform a panoramic dental X-ray and possibly a CT scan to verify that the bone mass is sufficient to accommodate the dental implant(s) to be placed.
2. Treatment of diseased teeth and/or bone filling
In case of dental disease, the dentist follows a personalized plan until there is no longer any obstacle to the placement of the implant.
If necessary, a bone filling is performed. This is called a bone graft. This is often a simple and well-controlled procedure.
3. Dental implant placement procedure
Implant placement is a surgical procedure performed under local anesthesia by applying a gel and then by injection (as for a traditional dental treatment). Deep sedation can be performed upon request.
The surgeon first makes an incision in the mucosa to reach the jawbone. The surgeon will then drill the cavities that will receive the implant(s). The implants will be screwed into these cavities and the practitioner will then close the gum by making stitches, which will be absorbed by the body in the following weeks.
The procedure is quite simple, you will not feel any pain during the procedure, but it can still have slight consequences more or less unpleasant. It can trigger a slight swelling of the face and even cause slight pain.
Once the implant has been placed in the bone, the dental surgeon places the healing screw. It is removed after a healing time of 3 months (between 6 weeks and 6 months) to allow the bone to rebuild around the implant. We do not recommend immediate loading, i.e. placing the final crown before this time.
Important: During the entire treatment, you will never be left without teeth or with a “hole” in your smile: a good appearance at all stages is important.
In the case of posterior dental implants, you will leave the office with a small protective screw on the implant, which is flush with your gums. In the case of cosmetic implants, an immediately loaded prosthesis will most often be placed.
Once the implant(s) are in place, a healing period of 3 to 6 months must be respected.
This allows the bone to fully integrate the implant. The bone must surround the implant and even colonize its structure in order to offer it a stability comparable to that of a real tooth.
During this period you must be vigilant to avoid any infection. To do this
Minimize stress on the jawbone so that the implants can attach properly,
To have an irreproachable dental hygiene (while being very careful the first days not to open the wounds) and very effective (to avoid the deposits of food)
5. Placement of theabutmentand taking of the impression
Once the area is completely healed and the implant is fully integrated into the jawbone. The healing screws are removed first and replaced with abutments. The surgeon can take an impression of the jawbone. The impression is sent to the laboratory, which will fabricate the prosthesis within 2 to 7 days.
6. The prosthesis
Once the dental prosthesis, crown or bridge, has been made, you try it on, which will allow you to make some adjustments.
The final prosthesis, including the adjustments, is cemented to the abutment and becomes integral with the dental implant.
7. Maintenance of the dental implants.
Maintenance appointments will be necessary to keep your implant healthy and avoid peri- implantitis. These appointments are usually scheduled every 6 months.
How to improve the longevity of your dental implants ?
Dental implant placement is an approved technique that allows you to enjoy a perfect aesthetic result with prostheses that have a very long life span.
However, in order to enjoy all these benefits, you must take a few precautions. It is therefore essential to regularly check the condition of your teeth and monitor the progress of your implants and perform any necessary maintenance.
It is therefore recommended to make at least two visits per year. These visits should be an opportunity to carry out the necessary checks, but also to carry out maintenance treatments. For example, it is recommended to have a complete scaling of the teeth done at least once a year.
Finally, you should know that the dentist is responsible for the placement of the dental implants and must do everything possible to make the procedure a success.
However, once the implants have been placed and all the care has been taken, you will be solely responsible for the proper care of your dental implants. It is up to you to monitor the condition of your implants and to make the necessary check-ups.