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Dental Implants and Prosthetics

Dental Implant


A dental implant is a structure that replaces a missing tooth. With screw-like devices, the surgeon inserts an implant into the jawbone, and it acts as an anchor for an artificial tooth, called a crown. A device called an abutment connects the artificial tooth to the dental implant. The crown is custom-made to fit the person’s mouth and match the colour of their teeth. Crowns look, feel, and function like natural teeth.



Are implants better than dentures?


Implants have several advantages over dentures, which are removable artificial teeth. Implants are:




  • Are more natural and comfortable
  • Have a higher success rate
  • Improve chewing function
  • Lead to a lower risk of cavities developing in nearby teeth
  • Lead to better maintenance of bone at the site of the lost tooth
  • Cause decreased sensitivity in nearby teeth
  • Do not need to be taken out and cleaned every night

However, dental implants are not suitable for everyone. The implanting devices must bond with the jawbone, so a person’s bones must be healthy before they can undergo implant surgery.





Where is implant surgery contraindicated?


Some people are not eligible for dental implant surgery. It not safe for dental surgeons to operate on people with:




  • Acute illness
  • Uncontrollable metabolic disease
  • Bone or soft tissue disease or infection

If these issues are resolved, a person can have the surgery. In some cases, dental surgeons refrain from operating on people with:



  • Heavy smoking habits
  • Parafunctional habits, such as tooth grinding or clenching
  • Behavioral or psychiatric disorders
  • HIV
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • AIDS

If people with any of the above undergo dental implant surgery, there is a higher risk of the implant failing. Dental surgeons may also choose not to operate on people undergoing the following treatmentss, due to an increased risk of implant complications:


  • Bisphosphonate drug treatment for bone loss diseases
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapyof the head or neck



Each person is likely to have a different experience of dental implant surgery. Factors that may influence this include:




  • The number of teeth requiring replacement
  • The location of the implants within the jaw
  • The quality and quantity of bone at the implant site
  • The person’s underlying oral and systemic health
  • Depending on these factors, additional procedures may be necessary. These can include:

Sinus augmentation


  • Placing an implant in the upper jawbone is usually difficult because of the location of the sinuses.
  • The surgeon may need to perform a sinus augmentation — a procedure to lift the floor of the sinuses to allow more bone to develop so that the implantation can be successful.

Ridge modification


  • Some people have a jawbone abnormality that prevents enough bone for an implant from developing. In such cases, a surgeon may need to perform a ridge modification.
  • This involves lifting the gum to expose the area of deformed bone. The surgeon will then use a bone or bone substitute to repair and build up the area. This improves the quality of the jawbone in preparation for dental implant surgery.


What sort of maintenance do implants need?


  • After a person has undergone dental implant surgery, they must continue to brush and floss their teeth regularly. Artificial teeth require the same care and maintenance as regular teeth.
  • The surgeon or dentist will also schedule follow-up visits to monitor the implants and make sure that the teeth and gums are healthy. It is important to return to the dentist every 6 months for professional cleanings.
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