Simply put, it is a tooth root substitute placed inside the jaw bone for prosthetic support.

Implants are required in cases of missing teeth and structural oral defects to obtain superior esthetic, natural results. They can be used to enhance support in removable dentures or to support fixed restorations. Also, implants are used in the field of orthodontics as a source of anchorage.

Following the insertion of a dental implant, implant-supported prosthetics can then be fabricated very similarly to conventional prosthetic methods in only a few appointments, thereby restoring the patients esthetic and functional condition.

The many benefits of implants include and are not limited by replacing missing teeth, improving social and health related problems such as speech and eating, and ensuring a more confident smile.

The overall treatment is completed in a few months and is divided into two phases, ie. surgical and prosthetic. Although implant surgical treatments are very basic compared to other oral surgical procedures and can be performed under local anesthesia, general anesthesia is also an option.

Who can receive dental implants?

Firstly, patients must always consult their dentist on the ideal treatment alternative for their specific case. A necessity for dental implants is only determined upon consultation with your dentist. Dental implants require sufficient amount of jaw bone for placement and support within the bone, therefore the adequacy of bone dimensions will determine also the need for further bone augmentation procedures before implant placement.

Oral hygiene and other conditions must be ideal before implant treatments are performed. A preparatory phase may be required if your dentist believes so.

Dental implants are usually indicated in areas of missing teeth, or in patients with inadequate denture support.

How are dental implants placed?

If the preparatory phases are complete and the jaw bone conditions are ideal, dental implants can be placed. The implant surgical procedure is mostly a basic short procedure. The required number and dimensions of implants are determined during the treatment planning procedure.

The area that will receive an implant is first surgically accessed under local anesthetic and the implant beds are prepared. Then, the selected implants are inserted into their positions. The soft tissues are then finally covered over the implants and sutured. 1 week later, sutures may be removed. A simple implant procedure usually takes 10-15 minutes. Temporary prostheses may be fabricated to be used during the implant integration phase.

The integration phase following surgery is the time it takes for the implant to integrate into the jaw bone. Although changeable, this usually takes 3 months. Upon the completion of the integration phase, the prosthetic phase can begin. This is similar to the conventional prosthetic fabrication process.

What to watch for after dental implant treatment?

Points to consider following implant surgery are;

  • Avoid smoking during and after the healing period as cigarette smoking may impair tissue healing implant longevity
  • During the healing period (5-7 days following surgery) avoid hot, staining and spicy foods and beverages
  • During the early healing period, only consume soft foods or liquids. Try not to consume hard or particulate foods as they may damage the wound
  • For the first 48 hours following surgery avoid exposure to hot steam rooms such as saunas or turkish baths and do not take hot showers as much as possible
  • Seeping bleeding is normal for the first 24 hours is a normal occurance and should not raise concern. Maintain your head at a raised position while sleeping for the first couple of nights.
  • A soft sterile gauze will be applied by your dentist to the surgical area, keep it where placed for at least 30 minutes to control bleeding
  • Do not forcibly gargle or create negative pressure in your mouth (do not use a straw, smoke cigarettes, or spit) during healing as this may open the wound
  • Do not brush your teeth or gargle with mouthwash on the first day of treatment, only do so a few days after surgery. Using salt water will also speed up the healing process
  • Apply intermittent ice to the area to prevent swelling
  • Unless stated otherwise revisit the clinic for the removal of the sutures in 7 days
  • Avoid alcohol consumption soon after surgery as alcohol may promote bleeding and swelling, causing pain and sensitivity
  • Swelling and redness in places neighboring the surgical area are common and should not cause concern. Swelling will gradually subside after the second day of surgery. If bleeding persists or excessive swelling occurs even after the second day consult your dentist immediately for a check-up

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