A dental implant is a “root” device, usually made of titanium, used in dentistry
to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth to replace missing teeth.
A typical implant consists of a titanium screw (resembling a tooth root) with a
roughened or smooth surface. The majority of dental implants are made out of commercially
pure titanium, which is available in 4 grades depending upon the amount of carbon and iron
contained.
They are used for the support and retention of dentures, fixed bridgework
and the replacement of one or more missing teeth.
Virtually all dental implants placed today are root-form endosseous implants,
i.e., they appear similar to an actual tooth root (and thus possess a “root-form”).
They are placed within the jaw bone and become attached to surrounding jaw bone.
The bone of the jaw accepts and osseointegrates with the titanium post.
Osseointegration refers to the fusion of the implant surface with the surrounding bone.
Although dental implants will fuse with bone,they lack the periodontal ligament, so they
will feel slightly different than natural teeth during chewing.
The implants remain rigid rather than have some flexibility that natural teeth
have which are attached individually to a periodontal ligament.
Prior to the advent of root-form endosseous implants, most implants were either
blade endosseous implants, in that the shape of the metal piece placed within the bone
resembled a flat blade, or subperiosteal implants, in which a framework was constructed
to lie upon and was attached with screws to the exposed bone of the jaws.
Dental implants can be used to support a number of dental prostheses, including
crowns, implant-supported bridges or dentures.[1] They can also be used as anchorage for
orthodontic tooth movement. The use of dental implants permits un-directional tooth
movement without reciprocal action
You should know that NOT every person may be a candidate for receiving a dental
implant.There has to be enough supporting bone present particularly in the Maxillary
(upper jaw)that is in such close proximity to the maxillary sinus. You also must have good
oral hygiene and be in good general health.
That being said, certain invasive surgical procedures can be implemented like bone
grafts,or bone augmentations and/or sinus lifts to provide enough bone. One obvious
contraindication for implants is placing them in the lower jaw in close proximity of the
mandibular canal whichhas the mandibular nerve running through it.
Placing implants in such places could result in prolonged and/or permanent numbness of
the lower lip and jaw . A very un-desireable outcome indeed !
Although many dental professionals can provide you with implants, you must do your due
diligence and ensure that the professional you select, is highly trained and experienced in
dental implant procedures.
Oral surgeons, Periodontist, Endodontists and general dental practioners who have had the
necessary training and education can perform this service for you.
The actual dental implant procedure is not usually painful during or after the surgical
placement. It is usually performed with the use of a local anesthetic but alternative methods
like nitrous oxide, IV sedation and/or a general anesthetic procedures are available.
If you decide to have your General practitioner do this procedure, make sure to ask
how many he or she has done. And ask them where and when they got their training in implant
procedures.
The healing time required prior to loading and placing the denture, crown or fixed bridge
on the implant may vary widely. Most practioners will allow from 2-6 months for the healing
process to take place.
That said, the immediate placement into a recent extraction site and immediate loading
has recently become more common because the success rates for this procedure are now quite
acceptable.
If you should see a dental implant advertisement that states ” Teeth in a day”,it is a
procedure more appropriate for a completely edentulous (no teeth) cases where all of the teeth
are to be extracted or have already been extracted.
You might ask what is the rate of success for dental implants ? Well that depends on the
operators skills, on the quality and quantity of bone present, the patient’s oral hygiene and
condition of the remaining teeth and supportive gum tissue.
Patients who smoke, have diabetes, poor oral hygiene habits and/or other
compromising general health issues, are NOT very good candidates for a successful
implant procedures.
The success rate in good candidates are extremely high. Around 95% . The cost
of a basic dental implant is typically $1,250 to $3,000. Depending on your circumstances,
additional costs for things such as in the case of a posterior mandible, bone regeneration,
sinus elevation, and wide diameter or narrow diameter implants can quickly escalate the costs
involved to as much as $15,000 to $30,000 for the complete procedure for the upper or lower jaw.
That being said, a relative uncomplicated single implant can vary between
1500.00 and 3,000.00 depending where you live and who is doing the surgery,
Many dental schools for example may have a specialty program which may offer
to do a single implant for a considerable discount compared to private practice.
Consequently, if you live near a dental school and can get accepted into their
dental school implant program, you may be able to have an implant or implants done
at a reduced price.
Be aware that most estimates given for implants do not always include the
superstructure that will be placed on top of the implant. Therefore, it will be up to you
find out what the total cost will be including the cost of the crown or crowns, bridgework
or dentures that may be required.
For edentulous ( no teeth present) patients who have to wear lower dentures,
the implant procedure has become the next best thing to sliced bread. Providing you are
a good candidate and can afford it, dental implants will improve your quality of life
considerably.

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