What are Implants & How Do They Work?

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Have you recently lost a tooth or had to get one extracted? The sooner you replace it with a dental implant, the better off your oral health will be. Leaving a dental socket empty for a prolonged duration of time can have many adverse effects on the health of your jaw, and that of adjacent teeth – plus, it compromises the aesthetics of your smile!

What is a dental implant? 

A dental implant is basically an artificial tooth. You may have already heard of dentures and bridges, which are popular tooth replacement treatments – but they have quite a few drawbacks, especially when compared to dental implants.

Unlike bridges and dentures, dental implants replace the entire tooth i.e., crown and root. It is made using materials like titanium and zirconia for unmatched strength, resilience, structural integrity, and impeccable aesthetic appeal. 

What are the different types of implants? 

Different types of dental implants are used based on the requirements of every individual case of the patient. Based on the size, there can be:

  • Traditional implants 
  • Mini implants 

Based on the site of surgery, and the technique used by the surgeon, there can be:

  • Endosteal Implants: Implants that are anchored directly into the patient’s jawbone.
  • Subperiosteal Implants: Implants that rest directly on top of the jawbone.
  • Transosteal Implants: Implants used exclusively in the anterior (front) portion of the lower jaw to provide support to partial or complete dentures.

What are the alternatives to implants? 

There are currently two more options in dentistry for people who wish to replace missing teeth in their mouths. These are:

  • Complete or partial dentures 
  • Dental bridges 

Dentures are prosthetic teeth, usually made using light weight acrylic resin. They only replace the crown portion of the missing teeth and retain their position in the jaw with the help of natural oral suction, denture adhesives, or small metal clasps. With the advancement of dental technology, complete dentures can now be retained in the mouth with the help of 2, 4 or 5 strategically placed mini-implants – these are known as implant-retained dentures.
There are several drawbacks associated with opting for conventional acrylic dentures, the most prominent of which are:

  • Lack of stability. 
  • Risk of displacement in the mouth during chewing, smiling, or speaking. 
  • May cause thinning of the underlying jawbone. 
  • May look artificial.
  • Can get lost or misplaced.

Dental Bridges:
Dental bridges are sets of fixed prosthetic teeth that can replace a single missing tooth, or multiple missing teeth within the same segment of the upper or lower jaws.

The procedure generally involves the trimming down of natural teeth on either side of the empty socket. These teeth act like shoulders to which the artificial crown will be connected. Once the resizing of the teeth has been completed, an impression is taken based on which dental technicians fabricate a segment of teeth using material such as metal, porcelain, or Porcelain Fused to Metal.
This segment is then carefully cemented over the trimmed natural teeth, as well as the empty socket. While this treatment can effectively replace multiple missing teeth in the mouth, there still are some drawbacks of the procedure when compared to dental implants. These include:

  • Porcelain bridges may fracture, or porcelain coating may chip off over time when subjected to forces inside the mouth.
  • Contribute to the resorption and thinning of the underlying jawbone.
  • Involves trimming down of natural enamel.
  • Lack of proper maintenance and oral hygiene can lead to infection, resulting from food packing/impaction around or under the bridge.

Why Choose MV Dental Arts? 

At MV Dental Arts, we take immense pride in keeping stride with the latest in the world of dental technology. Everything from our techniques to our equipment, our restorative materials and even the general protocol that we follow are all based on research and scientific findings. We strive to show our patients dentistry through a new perspective. Here are a few of the perks that our patients are entitled to:

  • Swift, detailed, one-on-one consultation sessions to address any concerns or queries you may have regarding a specific procedure, and helping you decide the one that suits your needs best.
  • Easy and efficient appointment scheduling.
  • Complete smile makeovers tailored to your budget and requirements.
  • Use of top-of-the-line products that guarantee longevity, safety, permanent/long-term solutions to dental problems, better healing, and outstanding results in terms of smile aesthetics.
  • Multiple sedation options to help you manage your pain, stress and anxiety prior to treatments.

What are the steps if you consider implants? 

If you are thinking of getting a dental implant to replace missing teeth in your mouth, here is what you can expect from the appointments:

  • Consultation: During the consultation session, we will help you understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the procedure. It is important to understand why we have recommended a particular treatment to you, and how it is beneficial to our oral health, as well as your general well-being. We will also conduct an oral assessment and take radiographs to see the structure and density of the jawbone.
  • Prerequisite Surgeries (If needed): Endosteal implants are embedded into the upper or lower jawbone for optimum anchorage. It is imperative for this reason, that there is adequate density and height of the jawbone, otherwise the implant can get dislodged, and the procedure might fail. If the radiograph shows low bone density, an additional procedure has to be performed before implant placement, and this is called Bone Grafting. As the name suggests, this surgery involves the packing of additional bone material at the site of surgery to help the existing bone ‘grow’.
  • Implant Placement: Once the bone material has hardened, the implant is surgically placed into the jawbone and covered with gum tissue. This implant is then left for 2-3 months wherein it is allowed to fuse with the surrounding bone cells.
  • Crown Placement: A radiograph is taken after three months have passed to check if the implant has successfully fused with the bone. As the last and final phase of the procedure, a porcelain or zirconia crown is fitted on top of the implant and the patient can go home with a brand new tooth.

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