Molar implants: types, operation, and process

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Missing one or more of your molars? If so, chewing and talking properly may have been bothering you for a while. Fortunately, dental technology is quite advanced today. Now you can regain the comfort of your back molars and improve your quality of life thanks to molar implants!

If you are considering molar implants, various options are available including for both first and second molar implants and single-tooth molar implants, allowing for custom solutions to meet your individual needs. Your dentist will provide you with the appropriate treatment, taking into account your personal needs. There are even various material types available! Depending on your needs, you can choose a metal molar implant, or if you want a more natural look, go for a ceramic implant. 

With proper care, implants will provide you with a lifetime of comfort. Especially when it comes to speaking, chewing, and having a perfect smile. So, from the implant procedure to the benefits and potential disadvantages, let’s talk about everything you need to know about molar implants without wasting time!

What are molar implants?

Molar implants are a type of dental implant made to replace missing teeth at the back of your mouth. If you don’t have lost your natural tooth due to injury or other medical reasons, implants are the perfect treatment for you. Since your wisdom teeth are also considered molars, they can be replaced too.

Why would you need molar implants? 

But why exactly should you get moral implants? Well, the loss of any molar teeth can cause you to deal with some oral conditions. First of all, difficulty speaking and chewing is the most common outcome you may encounter. Not only that, your missing teeth can put pressure on adjacent teeth, causing them to shift. This in turn can change the structure of your mouth, which can affect your bite in the long run. It can also cause you to deal with different oral health issues as it deteriorates the jaw bone over time. However, with the help of molar implants, you can prevent this bone loss and maintain the alignment of your teeth.

Types of molar implants: choosing the best one for you

When it comes to tooth replacement, dental implant procedures are done on an individual basis. This means that your dentist takes into account your unique needs and decides on a particular treatment. So, how is it determined which treatment you should receive? For this, it may vary depending on the amount of bone available, your general health status, and the outcome you want. Among the types of molar implant options that may be suitable for you are endosteal implants and subperiosteal implants.

Endosteal Implants

Endosteal implants are one of the most preferred implants. These types of molar implants are placed in your jawbone to act as artificial teeth. One of the advantages of endosteal implants is that they provide excellent stability and support for bridges or individual implants. But, for successful implant placement, you must have sufficient bone density and no periodontal disease. Otherwise, you won’t be a good candidate for endosteal implants. In such a case, you’ll need to choose another molar implant treatment.

Subperiosteal Implants

Subperiosteal implants are another type of moral implant that can replace your missing teeth. It may be suitable for you if you don’t have enough bone left for individual implants or if you prefer an easier surgical procedure. Unlike endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants are placed over the jaw bone but under the soft tissues. In other words, a metal implant frame will sit directly over your bone. So, these types of implants may not provide as good stability and support as implants that are placed in your jawbone. But of course, there are also situations where it’s advantageous. For example, it will be custom-made to match your unique jaw structure. This makes subperiosteal implants a good option for you if you are not a good candidate for other types of implants.

Moral Implant Materials

One of the most common types of implants are metal and ceramic moral implants. As you can guess, these materials have some advantages and disadvantages. Taking these into consideration will make it easier for you to choose which is the right one for you. For example, metal implants, which are the most common material, are made of titanium. And aside from being durable, they are also in demand due to their long and high success rate. However, if you are allergic to metal, this option won’t be your cup of tea.

On the other hand, ceramic implants are made of zirconia and offer a more natural cosmetic appearance. Also, if you are sensitive to temperature changes, they will certainly make you happy as they are less conductive than metal implants. And because this material is biocompatible, you do not have to worry about allergic reactions. But it is also true that they are more fragile. Especially if you have trouble grinding your teeth while sleeping or due to stress, it may not be for you. Ultimately, which one you choose will depend on you and your needs.

How molar implants differ from other dental implants?

Molar implants differ from dental implants in several aspects. First of all, molars are larger and stronger than normal teeth because they play a major role in chewing and grinding food. Apart from that, they also protect bone density and help preserve your facial structure. For that, they have larger roots. To provide this support and strength, they need to be placed deeper in the jawbone and sometimes replacing a molar with two implants is necessary. And since molar implants need better support, they can be larger and wider in structure and differ in shape. Generally, dental implants can be replaced several at a time. But since the molars are slightly apart from each other, a single-tooth dental implant is better for molar implants.

But is an implant necessary to replace your molars? In fact, you don’t have to, if you don’t want to get them done. It depends on various factors such as your oral health, the condition of your remaining teeth, and the position and functionality of your missing molars. Also, it’s possible for some to be intimidated by the procedure as it’s sometimes a long process. So, you can always consider other treatment alternatives such as dental bridges or partial dentures. 

The process of having molar implants

The molar dental implant process consists of several steps. At first, you start by consulting with a dental professional. After this meeting, a treatment plan will be made for you. With this plan, necessary procedures will be done before the implant. If this is the case, you will go through a healing process. After full recovery, your implants can now be placed. The placement of molar implants is also a process though. After the dental implant surgery, you will have a follow-up session with the specialist to make sure your implants are healing properly. They will make sure you get the necessary instructions for implant success. With the specialists doing their best and you being careful, you can be sure that your implant will be with you for many years! For a better picture here are the steps:

1. Consultation with a dentist and a treatment plan

2. Pre-operations if necessary + healing process

3. Implant placement + healing process

4. Follow-up sessions

Now let’s dig into these steps in detail!

Consultation and tooth extraction decision

The molar dental implant process consists of several steps. At first, you start by consulting with a dental professional. After this meeting, a treatment plan will be made for you. With this plan, necessary procedures will be done before the implant. If this is the case, you will go through a healing process. After full recovery, your implants can now be placed. The placement of molar implants is also a process though. After the dental implant surgery, you will have a follow-up session with the specialist to make sure your implants are healing properly. They will make sure you get the necessary instructions for implant success. With the specialists doing their best and you being careful, you can be sure that your implant will be with you for many years! For a better picture here are the steps:

1. Consultation with a dentist and a treatment plan

2. Pre-operations if necessary + healing process

3. Implant placement + healing process

4. Follow-up sessions

Now let’s dig into these steps in detail!

How is the procedure done?

Once the consultation and tooth extraction is done, the actual dental implant procedure begins. After the extraction, you will take an X-ray to determine the ideal location and angle of the implant. Local anesthetic is applied and an incision is made in the gum tissue exposing your jawbone. A hole is then drilled into the bone where the implant will sit. The surgeon will insert the implant and close the incision with sutures. Last but not least, a protective cover will be placed to protect the area. This part of the treatment will take approximately 1-2 hours.

The crown is not placed immediately afterward though. Because for several months following this procedure, the tissue of your jawbone must fuse with the implant. At your appointment after healing, the experienced surgeon will attach a piece called an abutment to your implant. It’ll act as a connection between the crown and the implant. And finally, the crown will be attached to this abutment for your tooth to function well. Ta-da! After going through a difficult and long process, you can now enjoy your brand-new molars!

What kind of anesthesia do you need?

If you are afraid of feeling any pain or discomfort during the molar implant procedure, we have good news. Anesthetics are going to save the day for you. Although most surgeons use sedation as a method, local anesthesia comes to the rescue when sedation cannot be used because of certain situations. However, sometimes even general anesthesia can be used when it comes to complex procedures. The oral surgeon will choose the type and amount of anesthesia based on your individual needs, medical history, and the complexity of your procedure. 

Is it painful?

The idea of having an implant may sound scary but it’s understandable and quite common. However, you shouldn’t worry about the pain because the procedure itself is not painful thanks to local anesthetics. You may only feel some discomfort and this will be relieved by the prescribed medications. By following the advice of your dental care provider, you will heal quickly and start using your molars with ease.

Follow-up session

We cannot stress enough how important follow-up sessions are if you got a dental implant placement done. It is necessary to monitor how your implant is healing and its fusion with your bone tissue. To check if everything is going well, X-rays and visual examinations should be done. The number of follow-up sessions may change depending on your individual needs and how well your recovery is going. However, most dentists recommend having regular visits at least twice a year after your dental implant surgery. 

Depending on factors such as your general health, oral hygiene habits, and lifestyle habits such as smoking, your molar implants may last 10-15 years or longer. So, in order to avoid implant failure, you have to be careful with your habits and do appropriate dental care.

Why shouldn’t you postpone getting molar implants?

Do molars play a huge role in your health? Should you be worried if you lose one or two? In fact, the truth is, it’s important not to delay getting implants done, as they play a crucial role in restoring the functionality of your mouth. In the absence of molars, you may encounter problems such as shifting the positions of the adjacent teeth and the inability to bite properly. 

Besides, let’s say you had your molars extracted for some reason but you didn’t think about getting implants. So, is it necessary to have an implant after molar tooth extraction? Well, you don’t actually have to get it done. But it is highly recommended to replace the missing tooth to prevent possible oral health problems.

Restoring chewing function

Molars are the most important player in the chewing process because thanks to them you can crush and grind food. In their absence, enjoying your favorite foods can become difficult. Not only that but over time, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies and digestive issues as well as other health problems. Molar implants can be your go-to solution to restore your chewing function and help prevent future complications.

Preserving jaw bone density and facial structure

Postponing the procedure can also lead to bone loss and shape changes in your jaw, which will affect the density of the bone and the overall structure of your face. But how exactly does this happen? In fact, one of the functions of the roots of your teeth is to provide stimulation to the bone tissue in the jaw. This stimulation also helps maintain the density and strength of your bone. So by postponing the procedure, you will restrain this stimulation and your bone can break down as a result. In addition, there is also a risk of the adjacent teeth moving to the empty gaps over time. This movement thus can misshape your bite and affect your facial structure by putting extra pressure on certain areas of your jawbone.

Do I need bone grafting?

Bone grafting is not a necessary procedure for every implant. It all depends on whether you have enough bone in your jaw to support the implant. Because, especially since your molars need to be stronger, the bone to support the molar implants should also be of sufficient strength. But if you have lost a tooth, your bone may have started to deteriorate. In such a situation, bone material will be added to the area to rebuild this lost area. This way, your implant will be successful and the risk of further bone loss will decrease. Your oral surgeon will decide whether you need this procedure and guide you accordingly.

References:

Suárez-López del Amo F, Lin GH, Monje A, Galindo-Moreno P, Wang HL. Influence of Soft Tissue Thickness on Peri-Implant Marginal Bone Loss: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Periodontology. 2016;87(6):690-699. doi:https://doi.org/10.1902/jop.2016.150571

Soni R, Priya A, Yadav H, Mishra N, Kumar L. Bone augmentation with sticky bone and platelet-rich fibrin by ridge-split technique and nasal floor engagement for immediate loading of dental implant after extracting impacted canine. National Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery. 2019;10(1):98-101. doi:https://doi.org/10.4103/njms.NJMS_37_18

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