Dental implants Q & A

Implant procedure – A guide for patients

All of the implants are placed on the same day, in a single visit.

Placing 6 implants usually takes 1-1.5 hours. The procedure is completely painless, and is performed under local anesthesia. We immediatelly start working on a temporary set of teeth, either mobile or fixed (in immediatte loading technique). Patient is advised to use ice for a day or two, and we give hygienic instructions to each patient. After 7 days, the stitches are removed. After 3 months, a permament set of fixed teeth (crowns/ bridges) can be made.

Immediate loading – Implants and teeth on the same day

In certain situations, depending on the bone condition and the doctor's examination results, it is possible to place implants and immediatelly place teeth on them. In these situations, a patient immediatelly can get a set of fixed teeth which are anchored on the implants, so patient can walk out of the dental practice with a brand new smile on the same day. Usually, this technique is used with full-jaw reconstructions (All-on-4, All-on-6).

The set of teeth which is provided to the patient is also temporary, and needs to be replaced after 3 months. This is due to the bone and soft tissue changes within those 3 months. After 3-4 months, the patient returns to the clinic and receives a brand new, permanent set of teeth which are anchored on the implants.

What is dental implant?

To answer that question precisely, we need to say a few basic things about tooth anatomy.

Each tooth consists of two basic parts – a root and a crown (pic 1). Simply said,the crown is the part which is visible. The root is the part which is inside the jaw bone. Dental implant is an artificial root. It is placed inside the bone, in the place of the natural root (pic 2). The procedure is very simple and non-painful, performed under local anesthesia.

The surface of the implant is made from titanium, and that is the material which has the best chance of succesfull acceptance by the jaw bone. It is very non-irritative and highly bio-inert material.After the implant is placed, the period of «growing into one» with a jaw bone begins. This is the period during which the anchorage and the healing of the implant happens. This period is called osseointegration. After 3 months, that period is finished and a new root is ready to be put to use as any other natural root.

Than, a sulcus former is placed (pic 3).

It is a small metal piece which is used to make sure that the soft gum tissue around the implant is formed in a round and natural way. Sulcus former needs to stay in place for 7 days.

Next step is implant abutment placing (pic 4). Immediately after abutment placing, abutment can be prepared by changing its shape in order to support a crown or a bridge.

Crowns and bridges are the visible part of the prosthetic work. Crown is placed on the single tooth, and bridges are placed on several teeth (in situations when more than one tooth is missing) – (pic 5).The new crown is the replacement for the former natural crown (pic 6), and a bridge is the replacement for several former natural crowns (pic 7).

The crown or bridge is made from porcelain (alone or fused with metal) or zhirconium.

So, each implant consists of two parts – an artificial titanium-made root, and an abutment.The artificial root supports an abutment, which supports a crown or a bridge. The artificial root is inside the bone instead of the former natural root, and the new crown is in the place of the former natural crown and is the visible part of the tooth (pic 8).

Implants can also support bridges, which consist of several teeth.

Photogallery

(click on a small picture for zoom and detail explanation)

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The success rate

The studies usually report a success rate of around 95 – 98 %. However, if your oral hygiene is at a satisfactory level, the percentage rises to almost 100%. In Alpha Dental Clinic, regardless of the dental implant brand used (Alpha Bio, Nobel Biocare, Ankylos, AstraTech etc.), the success rate is above 99.5% through 14-year period.

How do the implants "feel" in the mouth?

The implants look, and feel, EXACTLY like real teeth. Our patients with implants have never reported any difference, either in the appearance or in the «feel» compared to the natural teeth.

Is the treatment painfull?

To put it shortly, NO. The whole procedure lasts about 20 minutes per implant and is performed under local anesthesia. We use only the best anesthetics, therefore no pain ever occurs. Most of the patients report no pain after the perfomed procedure. Very rarely, some patients reported that they experienced a mild pain a day after. After one pain-reileving pill, the pain was permanently gone.

Dental implants history

Archeological findings suggest that early Mayan civilization (1 400 years ago) has been successful in dental implant surgery. How they achieved such medical progress, remains unknown. In the present date, first dental implant studies were made by Dr. Per Ingvar Branemark in 1952. They included titanium implants placed both in animal and human subjects.

However, it took 13 long years before Dr. Branemark had successfully implanted a dental implant in a human subject's jaw bone. The volunteer's name was Gosta Larsson.

Later, commercial value of the procedure was noticed, so Dr. Branemark started working on that aspect in 1978. From 1981, dental implants are being made by several companies.

The advantages of implants vs. mobile prosthetics

The advantages are numerous and easily noticed. Dental implants with crowns or bridges feel exactly like natural teeth. Mobile prosthesics never does.

Some of the problems which mobile prosthetics displays:

  • falling out of the mouth
  • not fitting 100% correctly, with «rocking» or moving sensations
  • irritation or even pain in some places
  • the feeling of a foreign body in the mouth
  • use of adhesives is sometimes needed

The reasons of tooth loss

There are several reasons for tooth loss. However, there are 3 most dominant reasons:

  • tooth decay
  • trauma
  • periodontal disease

The concequences that tooth loss has on digestive system (and health in general)

This is one area that is usually overlooked. There have been several studies reporting maldigestion (a digestion which is not good enough) in cases of multiple tooth loss. And still today people get surprised when told that lack of teeth could lead to problems with stomach or bowels. Teeth function as a machine which cuts and grinds food.The problem with tooth loss is that it works on many levels against the mastication (chewing process). Here are a few of the basic ones:

  • if a person looses a tooth, there is one less tooth to grind food.So the whole mastication is less effective.But, there are also other problems, this is just a beginning
  • the teeth in close proximity of the lost tooth try to close the space. So their position is changing. Slowly, not always noticeably, but it is changing. This is another level which degrades the efficiency of the food chewing
  • the changing of the position of the teeth causes changes in temporomandibular joint (the jaw joint). So sometimes people have problems with opening their mouth (a problem known as «trizmus»), or clicking noises inside the joint, or pain.This is also known as «temporomandibular joint syndrome». (NOTE – this syndrome can also be caused by other causes, tooth loss is one of them). This further degrades the mastication quality.

So the whole chewing process has problems on many levels, and the end result is – the mastication (chewing process) is not good enough. The better the mastication, the less work the esophagus, stomach and bowels need to do. If the food is not grinded enough, then the other parts of digestive system need to do the extra work.The work these organs are not constructed for.

This happens EVERY time a person with this type of problems consumes food.

Three times a day, day after day. Sooner or later, the problems appear. Most usually in stomach, but other organs can suffer consequences too. Ulcers, gastritis and some inflamatory conditions of the digestive system are the most usual ones. Another part of the problem is that even with the extra effort from esophagus, stomach and bowels, these organs still CAN NOT make up for the non-sufficient mastication.So, the digestive system is under pressure, and still the food isn't digested good enough. And the whole body doesn't get all the needed nutrients.This is another consequence of tooth loss, which still needs to be revealed to its full extent in scientific studies.