Dental Implants: Everything you need to know!
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dental-implant

Dental Implants: Everything you need to know!

Table of Contents

Dental implants are modern solutions for replacing missing teeth. It involves surgically placing a post into the jawbone. This post will serve as a strong foundation for various dental prostheses such as crowns, bridges, and dentures.

Dental implants are a long-lasting and natural-looking option to replace missing teeth, unlike removable dentures.

With a success rate of 90% to 95%, dental implants allow patients to regain confidence in their smile and improve their oral health. You can learn all the important things to consider before getting a dental implant by reading on!

First, let us highlight the key points from the article:

  • Dental implants have 3 main parts: the fixture, the abutment, and the prosthetic.
  • They can last up to 10+ years.
  • They’re made of biocompatible material.
  • There might be multiple surgeries involved.
  • Procedures are usually invasive, but clinics provide anesthesia.

What Is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a post-replacement on the jaw to replace the root part of your missing tooth. Implants are considered the perfect option for people who want to replace their missing teeth.

A dental implant helps solve problems of tooth loss but also fitting problems some other prosthetics can create. Implants improve the aesthetic of your teeth incredibly and your quality of life. Implants will improve your chewing and your speech along with its overall health benefits. You’ll get the perfect fit, along with tight and lasting support.

💡Dental implants made easy: imagine your dental implants being a screw. The role of the implant is to screw the outside crown or bridge to your bone, so it will be stable and perfectly long-lasting.

Are Dental Implants Permanent?

According to clinical studies at the University of Dundee, there is a 90% success rate even after 10 years. Implants are made from strong titanium alloy, so they’re durable and won’t wear out easily. With good care, they can last a lifetime.

Do Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss?

Yes, dental implants act like real tooth roots because they are fixed to your jawbone. This way, when you bite or chew, your jawbone will be stimulated, which is exactly what your jawbone needs to be healthy and strong. As long as there is stimulation in your jaw, you will not experience bone loss.

What Are the Different Parts of a Dental Implant?

A dental implant consists of three main parts:

  • The Fixture
  • The Abutment
  • The Dental Prosthetic

 

Each part has an important job in the process which we’ll explain in a minute.

The Fixture

The fixture, a.k.a implant post, is similar to a cylindrical screw implanted in the jawbone or skull bone. It acts as the artificial tooth root inside the bone. It’s perfectly designed to recreate a root.

The fixture is available in different sizes, adapting perfectly to the part of the jaw. If you are missing a molar, for example, you will need a bigger fixture. Sometimes longer implant posts are necessary when there is not enough bone mass for a normal fixture.

There are alternatives such as zirconium and titanium (metal) depending on the patient’s specific needs and expectations. People may prefer zirconia because it resembles to natural teeth in terms of aesthetics. Also, metal has good biocompatibility.

📌 An important factor to keep in mind is biocompatibility. When you think about it, the fixture is an external object inserted into your bone. So, this dental implant part is made of titanium, often coated with hydroxyapatite. This is a perfectly biocompatible material while being extremely long-lasting.

The Abutment

The abutment is the connection part, sitting between the fixture and the prosthetic part of the dental implant. A part of the abutment screws into the fixture. The other side of the abutment adheres to the dental prosthetic, may this be a crown, a bridge, etc. 

Think of the abutment as the part of the dental implant that connects the internal and external components.

📌 The type of abutment used for dental implants varies according to the type of dental prosthetic. For example, it may have attachments to clip to a denture or just be screw-shaped for a crown.

The Dental Prosthetic

The dental prosthetic is the tooth-looking part of the implant. This part is visible, unlike the abutment and fixture. Prosthetic parts are usually a crown, a denture, or a bridge.

The crowns are usually preferred when just one tooth is missing. The bridge is for one or more adjacent teeth that are missing. 

A denture is advised when you need an entire arch. Usually, crowns and bridges are cemented in while a denture is snapped in place. The prosthetic type you pick will determine the number of implant fixtures needed. Crowns usually need one, bridges two or more, and dentures from four to six.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Dental Implant?

When deciding on dental implants, considering the pros and cons will give you a clear mind about having implants. So, let’s check them out:

PROS

CONS

Durability

Time-consuming process

Bone growth stimulation

Surgery

Biocompatibility

Cost

Natural appearance

Not suitable for everyone

Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

You’ll be a good candidate for dental implants if you;

  • Have at least one missing tooth 
  • Don’t smoke (or you’re willing to stop for a few days during the process)
  • Have healthy oral tissues
  • Have adequate jawbone density to have a safe implant procedure (willing to get a bone graft if not)
  • Are ready to undergo a lengthy process (several months)
  • Want to improve chewing
  • Don’t have health conditions affecting bone healing
  • Want to improve qualify of life

Who Should Not Get a Dental Implant?

It’s also important to consider whether getting an implant might not be the best choice for your situation. Let’s take a look at some signs that suggest this.

  • Diabetes
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Cancer or leukemia
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Drug abuse
  • Bruxism
  • Parkinson’s 
  • Osteoporosis


💡 Diabetes can make it difficult for your body to fight infections. This can result in more complications after surgery, such as infections and gum disease. That’s why it will be challenging to get dental implants if you have diabetes.

Can You Get a Dental Implant Years After Extraction?

Yes. No matter how many months or years have passed since your tooth extraction, you can always get a dental implant. Provided that you have enough bone and gum tissue the other requirements for dental implantation surgery.

However, if your bone density is not enough for getting an implant, you will need bone grafting. After bone grafting you can get a dental implant.

How Many Dental Implants Can You Get?

You can get as many dental implants as needed to replace missing teeth. How many implants you need depends on how many teeth you are missing and the treatment plan recommended by your dentist or oral surgeon.

If you have a single missing tooth, single implants will be a better option for you. If you have multiple missing teeth, considering bridges and dentures can work out better for you.

⚠️ If you have a healthy jawbone structure that can support the implants, you should have no problem getting a number of implants. However, if you don’t have enough jawbone density, your dentist might recommend a treatment called bone grafting.

Can You Get Dental Implants with Periodontal Disease?

Having periodontal disease doesn’t mean you can’t get dental implants. However, having periodontal disease makes it harder to get implants as you need healthy bones and gums to hold your teeth in place. Before getting dental implants, your gums need to be treated first. If not treated, you may face implant failure.

Don’t worry, your dentist will advise the best treatment options to control the disease before you get the implant. This way, we can make sure that the implants integrate better with the jawbone and ensure their long-term success.

If you have periodontal disease, getting an implant will require a longer period of time.

Can You Get Dental Implants If You Have No Teeth?

Yes, you can still get dental implants even if you don’t have any teeth. However, if you’ve been missing your teeth for quite some time, you might have experienced bone loss. In such cases, you’ll need extra bone before the implants can be put in properly. Treatments like bone grafts can help with this and make it possible to get implants.

If you have no teeth, your dentist will recommend an all-on4, all-on6, or all-on-8 implants (aka full-mouth dental implants). Instead of placing every implant on your jaw with full-mouth dental implants, you will have a full arch of implants with less implantation. 

All-on implants do not focus only on the teeth but are attached with the gum prosthesis, thus ensuring integrity. A Prosthetic Dentistry Specialist will make sure you have the most matched and aesthetic color.

For your implants not to fail, it’s important to get your blood test done. If your sugar level is high or your vitamin D level is low, it is a possibility for a failed implant. High sugar level slows down the healing process, and low vitamin D level leads to bone loss or lower bone density.

What Does a Dental Implant Look Like?

An implant looks almost indistinguishable from your natural teeth. The crown’s shape and size are customized to match your unique dental structure.

Implants Look Like This

What Does a Dental Implant Feel Like?

While dental implants look similar to natural teeth, the feel might be slightly different. Unlike natural teeth, they lack nerves, so they can’t replicate the sensation of pressure when you bite.

Your implant will not be sensitive to heat or cold temperatures. However, many people get used to this sensation in a short time. In fact, over time, you may even forget that you have an implant because it becomes such a natural part of your mouth.

In fact, patients who have undergone this procedure say that the implant crown never gets plaque. It is normal to feel uncomfortable during the day or after meals, but the implants remain smooth.

⚠️ If your implant causes pain or discomfort while eating or talking after it heals, see your dentist ASAP. It could mean there’s a problem with your recovery. 

Can Dental Implants Be Whitened?

No, implants cannot be whitened. The whitening process only works on the natural teeth enamel. Implants, especially porcelain ones are stain-resistant prostheses.

Before any dental implant treatment, your dentist will show you a color chart to choose from for your implant crowns. Your dentist can give you suggestions to match your other tooth color and look natural.

To prevent any color change, you should give importance to oral hygiene. However, crowns do not actually change color, they may have stains on them. These stains can be easily cleaned by brushing.  

You can contact your dentist if you think your crown does not match with the rest of your teeth.

Dental Implant Types

The types of dental implants can be explained by considering several categories.

To begin with, they can be characterized by the number of missing teeth. For example, there are implants for single missing teeth as well as for multiple missing teeth.

Multiple implants are also called full-mouth dental implants, all-on-4, all-on-6, or all-on-8. For single dental implants, mini implants are also a type to consider regarding your situation. 

Secondly, they vary depending on the type of material of dental prosthesis. They can be metal, metal-fused, ceramic, porcelain, and zirconia.

What Are Dental Implants Made of?

Dental implants are made of different materials as different parts are involved. The fixture and the abutment are mad of titanium and zirconia for their biocompatibility.

Dental prosthetics (crowns) are usually zirconia, porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal.

The choice of prosthetic material depends on factors like the type of implant and what the patient prefers. You can choose either the most aesthetic-looking one or the most durable one.

Metal ones are mostly more long-lasting, however, aesthetically they don’t look satisfying or natural. Zirconium ones are the most natural-looking ones. Metal ones’ durability even though higher, zirconiums are also quite long-lasting. They last up to 15+ years. 

  1. Howe MS, Keys W, Richards D. Long-term (10-year) dental implant survival: A systematic review and sensitivity meta-analysis. Journal of Dentistry. 2019;84:9-21. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2019.03.008
  2. Neumeier TT, Reddy M, Geurs N, Hill J, Neumeier H. Longitudinal Study of Dental Implants in HIV−Positive Patients. Journal of Prosthodontics. Published online September 28, 2021. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jopr.13421
  3. Ata-Ali J, Ata-Ali F, Di-Benedetto N, Bagán L, Bagán JV. Does HIV infection have an impact upon dental implant osseointegration? A systematic review. Medicina Oral, Patología Oral y Cirugía Bucal. 2015;20(3):e347-e356. doi:https://doi.org/10.4317/medoral.20408
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