What is a dental implant?
An implant is basically a screw shaped piece of biocompatible alloy that serves as a replacement for the root of a missing tooth. Implants are positioned only in the completely healed gingiva.
Dental implants can replace one or more teeth being a support for individual crowns or partial / total dentures. After positioning an implant it becomes part of jaw through a phenomenon called bone blending.
Who is eligible for dental implants?
Anyone who is missing one or more teeth is eligible for implants. When it comes to implants, a healthy bone structure is considered to be the main criteria, rather than the age of a patient. Bone structure status is determined by computerized axial tomography.
Steps of dental implant positioning
There is a timeframe of 3 to 6 months needed for this procedure. First the actual implant is placed in the healthy gingiva and then a period of a few months is required to allow the healing and bone blending process to take place. During this stage the missing denture is replaced by a temporary denture that will allow patients to go on with their life undisturbed.
What is the lifespan of a dental implant?
Implants can last for decades. Their lifespan is also influenced - just like in the case of natural teeth - by whether the patient is a smoker or not, by the alcohol intake, by dental hygiene and lastly but not leastly by the quality of used dental materials.
The actual insert of an implant takes less than one hour. A period of a few months is then required to allow healing and bone blending process to take place. Final prosthetics are mounted afterwards within a couple of appointments with the dental office.
Dental implant positioning is not painful and it’s performed under local anesthesia. Moderate pain may occur within 72 hours of procedure. This is usually addressed with painkillers.
Alveolar bones need constant stimulation in order to preserve their health and volume. This stimulation is absent when a tooth is missing and therefore changes in the consistency of alveolar bone may occur. Implants not only maintain the health and volume of the alveolar bone but also help increase its density.
Although research and many years of experience proved successful biocompatibility of dental implants, there is a very reduced chance that dental implants could fail. When failure occurs, implants are surgically removed and replaced with new ones.
As long as you are missing a tooth and your general state of health is good, you are eligible for dental implants.