11 Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants
What Are Implants and How Implantation Is Different From Other Methods of Tooth Restoration?
In simple terms, the implant is an alternative to the tooth root. As a rule, these are titanium products: the material is well studied and used in different areas of surgery for more than 100 years.
Each implant model has its own system for joining a tooth to a titanium «root». Fastening is carried out by screws, adapters (abutments or titanium bases) and cement. Unlike simple removable and bridge prostheses, implants do not affect adjacent teeth and allow you to correctly transfer the load on bone tissue.
Loss of bone tissue (which inevitably occurs when wearing removable dentures) leads not only to aesthetic consequences — reduce facial height, creases in the corners of the mouth, and so on, — but also to digestive problems due to muscle weakness and decreased chewing effectiveness. Implants can be positioned based on the individual characteristics of your dentition without affecting the function of chewing and speech...
In addition, implant-based teeth are generally more durable and reliable. However, there are always exceptions, and in some situations, removable or bridge prostheses will be preferable. What specifically suits you, the specialist will determine.
Are There Any Contraindications and Limitations for Implant Placement?
As with any surgery, there are also some contraindications. Usually, they intersect with contraindications for outpatient tooth extraction. That is, if you can’t remove your teeth, then implants cannot be installed.
So, this method is impossible or undesirable:
- with intolerance to anesthetics;
- with serious cardiovascular diseases;
- with diabetes in a progressive form;
- after radiation therapy in the head;
- in the presence of infections in the oral cavity;
- in connection with the use of certain drugs;
- during colds or severe stress.
As for age, implantation is not recommended for young patients, as they have not yet fully formed the bones of the facial skull, in particular, the jaw. For each, this process proceeds differently, but on average ends at 16–18 years. For older people, there are no age restrictions as such, it all depends on the state of health.
What Questions to Ask the Doctor at the First Consultation?
At the first visit to the implant surgeon, it is important to clearly clarify for yourself all the moments of the upcoming treatment. Of course, a good specialist will explain everything himself, but you can also ask the right direction with your questions...What would you recommend me to cure?
You should not go to the doctor and demand to correct this particular tooth. To prevent future frustrations, it is important to draw up a complete treatment plan for the entire oral cavity, and not just eliminate the defects visible with a smile.What other specialists should I contact?
It is possible that a group of doctors will deal with your situation. And this is a common practice. For example, with malocclusion, you should first consult an orthodontist. Violating the stages of treatment, you will create problems for yourself in the future: it will be much more difficult and more expensive to fix the same bite with already installed implants.What will be included in my treatment plan?
What procedures, what costs will be required, how long will each stage last, or will there be any inconvenience and limitations — It is important to clarify every detail. And of course, find out all the risks: you will be guaranteed a result or is it some kind of experimental treatment?
How long after tooth extraction can an implant be installed?
You can remove the tooth and put the implant in this place in one visit. True, provided that no infectious processes occur in the operated area, and indeed in the oral cavity (there is no periodontitis, periodontitis, abscess, and so on). Otherwise, it is necessary to eliminate them and wait for 2–3 months, otherwise the likelihood of complications.
What Examinations do You Need To Go Before Implantation?
If you can remove the tooth, then you can install the implant. This is not a special procedure that requires a large list of tests. Therefore, as a rule, only a CT scan is required. An exception — if you have not been examined for a long time. Then go to the therapist first and resolve your general health issues...
Of course, the implant surgeon needs to be informed about all your diseases and medications. Before the first consultation, do not be too lazy to make a complete list of medicines and injections that were prescribed for you over the past six months.
In case of serious diseases (problems with the cardiovascular system, diabetes mellitus, oncology), consultation and the conclusion of specialists is mandatory. Without this, things will not go further than a conversation with an implant surgeon.
How Does the Implantation Procedure Go?
First, the doctor will give you anesthesia. In most cases, not the entire jaw is frozen, but only a small amount of tissue. This is enough so that during the operation you do not have any pain. The maximum that may be out of unpleasant, — it is cheek pulling and vibration. If you still feel pain, inform your doctor immediately...
As soon as the anesthesia works, the specialist makes an incision and exposes the bone, then prepares the seat using a series of special drills and installs the implant. After this, a stub is placed (a screw that protects the internal structure of the artificial root) and seams are applied.
It may take about 10–15 minutes to install one implant. However, this does not mean that you will spend only a quarter of an hour in the clinic: it takes time to prepare the patient for surgery and the effect of anesthesia. After the operation, you should have control shots and a cold compress. Given all these organizational issues, in the clinic, you are likely to stay at least one and a half hours.
Is It Possible to Install Several Implants at Once?
Not only possible but necessary. Fortunately, there are no restrictions on the number of implants installed per visit, even if the missing teeth are located on different sides of the jaw. In this case, you will have to postpone only one rehabilitation period, take one course of drugs. You will quickly bounce back, and most importantly — the duration of your treatment will be reduced.
Install one implant per week — wrong since every operation — this is a stress for the body. In addition, for a long time, you will have to take special medications to avoid complications (antibiotics, painkillers), which also may not have a very beneficial effect on health.
What Are the Limitations After Surgery and How Long Does the Recovery Process Take?
The limitations are exactly the same as after tooth extraction:
- Refrain from additional stress: heavy physical exertion, psychological stress, responsible intellectual work.
- The first three days avoid hot, cold and solid foods.
- The first few days try not to injure the operated area: do not chew food on this side, do not brush this place with a toothbrush, and so on.
Also, so that there are no infectious complications, you will need to take anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial drugs, which the doctor will prescribe. However, despite similar limitations, after implantation, you will feel better than after tooth extraction.
What complications can occur?
After implantation, a number of complications can occur. Some of the symptoms are quite natural and should not scare you:
- spontaneous pain on the first day after implantation;
- pain when pressing on the operated area in the first 72 hours;
- the temperature increase on the first day (up to 38 °C).
- increasing edema in the first three days (as a rule, on the third day it is maximum, but by the fifth or sixth day it subsides).
Sound the alarm and immediately run to the doctor if:
- high temperature lasts more than 24 hours;
- after three days, painful sensations (spontaneous or when exposed to the operated area) are disturbing;
- edema does not subside or increases within a week.
How to care for implants?
Regular implant care is just as important as having your own teeth. Careful daily hygiene of the entire oral cavity and regular visits to the dentist (at least twice a year) are required.
At the same time, personal hygiene has its own characteristics. In addition to the usual and necessary tools (toothpaste, floss, rinse aid), you should start using an electric brush and an irrigator (a device that removes food debris from hard-to-reach places due to water ripple).
Also, do not forget about professional cleaning every six months. At the same time, remember that implants require special tools and supplies, and be sure to notify the specialist about the presence of artificial teeth before the procedure.
How long the implants will serve you?
In the event of successful engraftment and proper care, the implants will last you several decades. Some optimists even promise a lifetime warranty, but this is a moot point: there is no real evidence that implants have served a person 50 or 70 years old. And it’s hard to imagine an actively practicing surgeon with more than 50 experience years old — what then is such a guarantee based on?
In addition, your jaw system will still continue to wear out, bone tissue — collapse, and the implants themselves will be exposed. Of course, all this does not happen quickly, so it is important to monitor the condition of the oral cavity and at least once a year to come to the implant surgeon for a follow-up examination.