Designed to look, function and feel like the natural teeth, the dental implants are getting much popular among the people who have a missing tooth or want to replace single or more teeth due to some dental issues. And the increasing number of dental implants in Wellington is the evidence that dental implants are preferred over other dental treatments.
But, what has made the dental implants become the preferred choice of the people? Is it that feel resembling totally to having natural teeth or the long-lasting effects of the treatment? Well, both of these reasons are true for the popularity of the dental implants and there are some other reasons too. These include:
- The comfortable fit
- High success rate
- Enhanced facial appeal
- Ability to smile freely and confidently
- Improved ability to chew and eat
Thus, along with providing you the solution for your dental issues, the dental implants also allow you to enjoy your daily life activities, like smiling, eating, etc., without any worry.
However, if you are thinking to get a dental implant and have some questions in mind regarding the procedure, this write-up is for you. Here you will get complete information about the procedure, as done by dentist Wellington, and you can set your expectations accordingly. So, let’s get started with the dental implant basics.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a duplicate tooth root, made of titanium, that is similar to a screw in shape. It is placed in the jawbone where it bonds with natural bone and becomes a base for the artificial tooth.
As implants fuse to the jawbone, they ensure stable support for artificial teeth. It means the bridges and the dentures mounted to these implants don’t get slipped or shifted. And this feature is important for having a seamless speaking and eating experience.
A dental implant consists of three parts which are:
- The implant fixture: This part of the dental implant stays below the gum line. It is a screw that becomes the root for a new tooth. It attaches to your jaw, permanently.
- The abutment: It is a part of the tooth implant that lies above the gum line It is a connector that secures the crown, denture or bridge placed on it. It is added to the fixture after the osseointegration process.
- The prosthesis: It is the visible part of the tooth, which is made of porcelain or zirconium. It can be screwed or cemented in the case of crowns and bridgework and can be snapped or clipped in the case of dentures.
Types of dental implants
The dental implants done in Wellington are of two types:
- Endosteal implants
This type of implant is placed directly into the jawbone. The surrounding gum tissue is left for healing before the second surgery is done to connect the post to the implant. The final step involves attaching the artificial tooth to the post.
- Subperiosteal implants
These are placed on the top of the jaw. These consist of a metal framework, the post of which protrudes through the gums for holding the prosthesis. These are perfect for the people having minimal bone height.
Who can go for the dental implants?
Once you have made your decision for getting dental implants, you must check if you are a good candidate for undergoing treatment or not. In general, you need to have:
- Healthy Gums
- Adequate bone
- Good oral and general health
- Ability to undergo the procedure of several months
On the contrary, there are also a few things that let you get disqualified for the dental implants. These include:
– Naturally occurring deficiencies
– Bone damage due to any disease
– Previous dental surgeries
All the dentists dealing in dental implants in Wellington consider and check these factors before they start the procedure for the particular candidate.
After the dentist evaluates your oral and general health and finds you the right candidate for dental implants, he will suggest you to begin the procedure. So, here is how the procedure goes.
Complete Procedure For Dental Implants
- Evaluation and preparation
In this part of the procedure, the dentist will evaluate your oral health for dental implants. He will analyze your oral health through visualization, palpation and by measuring the jawbones.
Apart from the general diagnosis, the dentist will also take x-rays of your jaws. A combination of a panoramic film (in which a single X-rays shows the jaws and all teeth of the patients) and periapical radiographs (individual x-rays taken to have a close view of the teeth) is taken for satisfactory examination of the teeth.
Depending on the tooth you need the dental implant for and some other factors, the dentists may also feel the need for 3-D imaging and CT scan. All these evaluation procedures let the dentists get more information about the objects to be examined.
After that, the dentist will evaluate the soft tissues of your mouth to find out if they are healthy and free of pathology. The tissues which exist in the area around the implant site are also evaluated for quality and type. For instance, the gums surrounding the implant should be tightly bound to the bones lying under them.
The need of Bone Grafting
In the case bones are not strong or thick enough to support and secure the implant, there is the need of bone grafting. This usually happens when you want an implant for the tooth that is missing for a long time. The bone density decreases with the time when no tooth root is there.
The bone for bone grafting process can be taken from chin or hip, synthetic material (like hydroxyapatite or phosphate), processed pig or cow bone. The procedure of bone grafting needs to be done before placing the dental implant. It can be done through one or more surgeries and can take anywhere from 3 months to a year for healing.
Is there any alternative to bone grafting?
Bone Distraction is an alternative to grafting in which the existing bone is pulled apart with the screws and pins. It is then let to heal and fill in the gaps.
If there is no need of bone grafting, your first surgery for the dental implant can be scheduled. The process can take around 1-2 hours and is performed by a dentist, a periodontist or an oral surgeon. The surgery involves the following steps:
- The first step in placing an implant is using an anesthesia. The options include local anesthesia, general anesthesia or sedation. It depends on your condition and the time required for the surgery that which option would work best.
– In general, local anesthetic works well for simple surgeries involving one or two implants and when you are not feeling nervous.
– If you are having anxiety about the procedure, sedation is the option to make you feel relaxed and comfortable.
– In the case when surgery is expected to take longer, and you are feeling a little anxious, the dentist will prefer using general anesthesia.
- In the next step, a small incision is made in order to expose the bone. The dentist will use a scalpel and score incisions to separate the two flaps. Then he will push and peel these flaps of gum tissues back to expose the bone.
Then the dentist will analyze the shape of the exposed bone and will check if it is OK for placing the implant. The exposed bone needs to be smooth and flat.
If the bone is not in the right shape, the dentist will reshape it using the dental drill.
- Once the bone has been accessed, the dentist will start preparing a hole for the dental implants. It involves the use of drills encompassing different diameters. First of all, a bur is used to penetrate into the hardest layer of the bone and ensure accurate positioning of the pilot drill.
The first phase of drilling creates a hole which is about 1/3rd of the total hole length required. Then the hole is checked for orientation and drilling is resumed after making needed adjustments. Once the complete hole is made, the dentist will again check the alignment to ensure that it is suitable. After that, an X-ray of the implant site is taken.
- After making the pilot hole and implant’s hole, the dentist will use a thread forming tool, known as screw tap, to create that shape of threads in the bone. These threads ensure proper placement of the dental implants.
There is no need of separate threading in the case the dentist is going to use implants with the self-tapping feature.
- Implant Placement
After the hole has been shaped properly and everything is ensured to go the desired way, the dentist goes ahead with inserting the dental implant. The implant can be placed with a dental drill having an adapter for holding the implant or can be placed manually using a hand wrench.
Then a healing cap is placed and screwed onto the exposed area of the dental implant in order to prevent any contact with the oral environment. The separated flaps of the gum tissues are then re-positioned over and around the healing cap, and are secured in place with the help of stitches. These stitches are left there for seven to ten days and are then removed.
The healing process and bone growth
This process is known as Osseointegration and takes about 3-6 months. During this period, the new cells grow around the implant and fuse it into the jawbone. And the time taken by the implant to integrate fully with surrounding bones varies from person to person.
- Placing the Temporary Crown
After the healing process, your dentist will take an X-ray and will check if the implant has been fused effectively with the jawbone. In the case it has, the dentist will schedule the second surgery which is less invasive and takes less time than the first one.
In this, the healing cap is removed, and the abutment is screwed into the implant with the help of a special equipment. This abutment provided the surface required for attaching and supporting the temporary crown.
Then the impression of the abutment, the surrounding teeth, and the gums are taken, which is then used for fabricating the final restorations. Then a temporary crown which is made of a softer material is attached to the abutment. This material protects the implant from the chewing and biting forces during the healing process.
- Placing the permanent crown
It takes about 2-3 weeks for the fabrication of the permanent crown and meantime; you need to wear the temporary crown.
When the new custom-made restoration is ready, it is screwed or cemented on to the abutment. Both the options have their own benefits. Cementing avoids the need for the screw hole in the permanent crown, and the screw-in crowns are easier to remove in the case there is the need.
Types of permanent restorations
Here you have two options: Fixed Restorations and Removable Restorations.
The crowns and bridges come under the category of fixed restorations. These are screwed or cemented into the implants, and only a dentist can remove them if required.
Partial and complete implant-retained dentures are an example of removable restorations. These have special attachments which clip over a bar attached to the abutment or onto the abutments.
Same Day Dental Implants
There is an alternative technique to this lengthy process, which is termed as the “Same Day Dental Implants.” In this treatment, the abutment and the crown are attached during the same appointment the implant is placed in. The process is also known as “Immediate Loading.”
It is mostly used for All-on-4 lower or upper dentures as when joined together by rigid denture; the implants can share the load of chewing and biting.
Though Immediate Loading takes less time, even a small mistake or movement can lead to the failure. So, you must give preference to the detailed procedure.
Recovery and maintenance
Your job starts after the job of the dentist ends. For effective recovery of dental implants, you need to follow all the instructions given by the dentist. And the foremost instruction would be to stick to the soft food for few days after the surgery. You can start re-introducing the hard foods with the time as the implant site shows the symptoms of getting healed.
And for maintenance, follow these steps:
- Focus on complete oral hygiene. Along with regular brushing and flossing, you should focus on keeping the implant area clean and free from food debris. Otherwise, it can lead to infections.
- Go for regular checkups after the dental implant procedure is done. Though you need to visit your dentist in Wellington a few times for a follow-up procedure, you should also go for regular checkups and cleaning every six months.
- Last but not least is avoiding bad habits which can cause damage to your dental implants. A few of these include smoking, chewing on ice or other hard substances and overloading the implants.
Now being aware of each and every detail of the procedure, you can set expectations for your dental implant surgery. However, a thing you need to keep in mind is implant placement is a delicate process that needs to be done by an experienced surgeon. So, always ensure to visit a reputed and experienced dentist in Wellington for your dental implant surgery. After all, it is about your oral well being and the hard-earned money you would spend on the surgery.
Dr. Nelson Gumucio is thirty years of practicing Wellington cosmetic dentistry and family dental care. He is a blog writer. He speaks English and Spanish. Having 15 years of experience in writing that’s given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He was graduated in 1981 from the University of Missouri Dental School in Kansas City, He has contributed extensively to the world of medical Journal. He has a passion for uncovering unique and compelling ways of writing. He always strives to provide the best alternatives to his readers. His goal is to provide all-inclusive oral care to achieve peak Oral health.