Implant Dentistry:

Dental implants has come as a boon for people suffering from tooth loss. When teeth are lost due to disease and extraction, there is a loss of the root and loss of bone. This loss of bone makes it very difficult to give fixed replacements for lost teeth. Earlier the only option was bridges, where the adjacent teeth were prepared to receive crowns and the gap was bridged over. Today dental implants provide a very balanced and effective alternative to bridges, where in the lost root is first replaced, and then a crown is placed on top of the implant.

Dental Implants are made of a very hard but lightweight alloy of Titanium, and resemble a root shape, with some grooves and fins. This makes the implant also look like a wood screw at times. There is a lot of science in the design, and it has been refined over the past 50 years, and today there is a lot of evidence of long lasting dental implants. Implants also enjoy a very high success rate, and in lower jaw the success rate is around 95% or more, in the upper jaw it is closer to 90%. Once placed, the implants undergo a fusing with the bone (osseo-integration) and become a very firm platform for attaching a crown on top. Implants have a long life if taken care of properly, and enjoy a life of 25 years and more.

Once completed, the implant supported tooth looks, feels and functions just like a tooth. One can chew, bite and use this tooth like any other tooth in the mouth. One need not worry about the tooth becoming loose, or if one can chew effective. There are almost no restrictions, hence it is understandable that most patients prefer implants when it comes to replacing lost teeth​.

Implant Planning Session

The implant procedure is usually done in 4 phases: Planning phase, 1st Stage of surgical placement of implant, 2nd stage surgery to form collar of gums, & lastly fixing the crown. Placing a dental implant is a carefully planned and extraction procedure. It needs proper planning and extensive training before placing implants. With proper planning and care, the procedure is very predictable.

Planning involves taking X-Rays, or even CBCT-special type of CT scan, impressions and making study models, and also a thorough clinical examination. Your desires and needs are the most important, and are including in the planning. Once all the data is in, a decision is made on the number of implants, sequence of treatments, additional procedures if necessary, and the probable outcomes determined.

Once all are in agreement, the procedure is finalized and the doctor can begin with the case.

Single Tooth Implants

Single teeth replacements is the most common reason for placing dental implants. This is today the most optimum procedure, as it does not involve preparing any adjacent teeth, and other disadvantages of a bridge. The outcomes being very predictable and esthetic, this is the most commonly chosen procedure when 1 or 2 teeth are missing.

Based on patient’s need and suitability, a decision is made during the implant planning session. Further to this, the next phase of treatment begins, namely the 1st stage of implant placement phase, which is a minor surgery procedure. Usually the doctor will recommend a cover of antibiotics before the procedure.

The surgical phase for placing an implant is a minor surgical procedure, not painful, and very similar to tooth extraction. There is mild discomfort for a few days, which is well controlled by medication, and patients respond very favourably to this. The procedure involves creating a space in the jaw bone, and placing the implant in the prepared site. The procedure is done with numbing the area with a local anesthetic injection. Many a times, in case of planned extraction, the implant can be placed the same time as the tooth removal, minimizing any further discomfort.

Subsequently the areas is allowed to heal, and time is given for the bone to grow upto the implant and fix onto it (osseointegration). Time needed is usually 3 months for lower jaw and 6 months for upper jaw. Occasionally the implant is so well fixed at the initial stage that the doctor may choose to go ahead and start placing a crown immediately. This is not very common, and the decision has to be made by the doctor based on clinical situation.

In either case when the implant is firmly integrated into bone, then the next stage involves forming a collar of gums around the neck of the implant. This is a very short procedure, but needs a small painless injection around the site. Once this is done, a 2 week period is given for the new collar of gums to form. At this stage usually an impression is taken and sent to dental lab for preparing a custom fit crown.

After 2 weeks, when all is healed and settled, the new crown is fixed onto the implant, via an intermediate connection called an abutment. Now the treatment is complete and the patient can enjoy excellent use for many decades to come. There a number of specific maintenance instructions given by the doctor which need to be followed.