What Are Dental Implants? The Thorough Guide You’re Looking For

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A dental implant is a modern solution for replacing missing teeth. It involves surgically placing a post into the jawbone, which serves as a sturdy foundation for various dental prostheses like crowns, bridges, and dentures. They are mostly known for their durability and strength. So, unlike traditional methods such as removable dentures, dental implants offer a durable, jawbone-supporting, and natural-looking solution to replace missing teeth.

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. It’s considered the perfect option for people wanting artificial teeth functioning exactly like their real ones.

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. There are chewing improvements, speech improvements, and overall health improvements to getting crowns. You’ll get the perfect fit, along with tight and lasting support.

💡Dental implants made easy: imagine your dental implants being a screw. Yes, that may seem crude and creepy, but it’s the best example we can give. 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.

What Is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a post-replacement on the jaw to replace the root part of your missing tooth. It’s considered the perfect option for people wanting artificial teeth functioning exactly like their real ones.

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. There are chewing improvements, speech improvements, and overall health improvements to getting crowns. You’ll get the perfect fit, along with tight and lasting support.

Are Dental Implants Permanent?

According to research and clinical studies at the University of Dundee, there is a 90% success rate even after 10 years. They’re 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 there is a missing 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 may also be alternatives such as zirconium and titanium (metal) depending on the patient’s specific needs and expectations. Zirconia can be preferred because it is very similar to 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. 

Imagine the abutment as the connection part of the dental implant between the internal part and the external part of the implant.

📌 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

Think of it like this, if the fixture is the “inside” part, and the abutment is the “connecting” part of a dental implant, then the dental prosthetic is the visible part. It’s 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?

Just as with other dental procedures, when considering dental implants, it’s worth weighing the pros and cons to make an informed decision. 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


💡 The reason why it’ll be challenging to get dental implants with diabetes is that this condition weakens your body’s infection-fighting abilities, increasing the risk of post-surgery complications such as infections and gum disease.

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. Time will not matter as long as this is the case.

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. Some, for example, need only a single implant to replace a missing tooth, while others may need multiple implants to support bridges or dentures.

⚠️ 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, but it needs to be addressed first. Since periodontal disease affects the gums and the bone that holds your teeth in place, if left untreated, it can weaken the bone around implants and cause them to fail. 

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. But if you’ve been without teeth for a while, there might not be enough jawbone left because it hasn’t been stimulated. 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. They are also known as 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. 

Implants such as all on 4 and all on 6 do not focus only on the teeth but are attached together with the gum prosthesis, thus ensuring integrity.

The gum color must also be compatible with the current color, and this process is performed by a Prosthetic Dentistry Specialist. Choosing the gum color is of great importance for an aesthetic smile.

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.

Can You Have Dental Implants with Receding Gums?

Unfortunately, if you suffer from receding gums, you won’t be suitable for dental implants as it’s a sign of gum disease. Dental implants are not recommended for people with gum disease. 

To get implants, you need gum tissue as well as sufficient bone density. Otherwise, the implant won’t fit securely, and loose implants will cause problems such as gingivitis and infection. Implant infection is very serious and can lead to peri-implantitis, risking the loss of your new implant and further spread of infection.

Your dentist must confirm that there is no permanent damage under the gums, usually by taking an x-ray to make sure you can get implants. Only if the results are positive and your gum recession has stopped, you may be suitable for dental implants.

What Does a Dental Implant Look Like?

An implant looks almost indistinguishable from your natural teeth. Its shape and size are customized to match your unique dental structure, ensuring it fits in perfectly with the surrounding teeth and available space.

What Does a Dental Implant Feel Like?

While dental implants look very 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. Also, your implant will not be sensitive to heat or cold temperatures. This is not a thing that will affect your life though, 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 the implant. 

Can Dental Implants Be Whitened?

No, they can’t 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, you will be asked what color you want your teeth to be and even given a color guide to choose the color. You can choose accordingly. Your dentist can give you suggestions to match your other tooth color and look natural.

It is important to take care of your implants well to prevent any color change. However, crowns do not actually change color, they may have stains on which can be easily cleaned by brushing.  

If you decide the implant crown is no longer matching the rest of your teeth and want to change your crown color, you can consult your dentist for a crown change.

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, placed into the bone, and the abutment, which connects to it, are usually made of titanium (some type of metal) and zirconia because they work well with the body. 

When it comes to dental prosthetics, like the crown, materials such as zirconia, porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal are commonly used. 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 very long-lasting. They last up to 15+ years. 

References:
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