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Dental Implants are the first choice of treatment your dentist will offer if you have a missing tooth. Here are is everything you need to know about dental implants and exactly what you can expect during the procedure.

Teeth are something you do not really want to think about because if you are, that means you have a problem. Sometimes, when these problems become particularly bad, teeth have to be extracted, which can lead to missing permanent teeth in the mouth. Depending upon the number of teeth missing, their position in the mouth, and the reason why they had to be extracted, people may have trouble talking, eating or even showing their face in public [1].

This brings us to the most important question: what are the best methods for permanent teeth replacement?

What Are Dental Implants?

That the discovery that a piece of titanium could integrate so well with the bone in our body [2] would change the face of dental treatment forever was not conceived by the original researchers themselves. They were, in fact, working on orthopedic applications at the time.

Now, just a few decades later, dental implants are used with tremendous success and ease around the world and permanent tooth replacement with dental implants is considered to be the best choice available to patients with missing teeth right now [3].

A dental implant will be made from a titanium alloy, usually shaped like the root of the natural teeth, and used to replace missing teeth in the jaws [4].

What Are The Different Types Of Dental Implants?

A number of different designs of implants were used during the initial years when implants were still being tested out but for all intents and purposes endosteal implants, where drills are used to create space in the jawbone for the implant to be placed directly in contact with bone, are the only ones used around the world nowadays [5].

Endosteal implants may be one piece, commonly used for the front teeth, or two pieces. The latter is much more common since it allows a lot of flexibility to the surgeon and is thus indicated for use in plenty of clinical situations.

As a patient, the difference between one-piece or two-piece implants is important because two-piece implants require a second surgery to uncover the implant when the prosthesis (cap or bridge) has to be placed [6].

What Is The Procedure Involved In Getting A Dental Implant?

A lot of people feel scared of getting a dental implant placed because they feel it will be very painful. Those fears are absolutely unfounded and you do not have to worry about pain at all during the implant surgery.

The first thing that your surgeon will do is to take a few X-rays of the area or areas where the implants have to be placed. These X-rays may be limited to the IOPA’s which can be done in almost all dental clinics or require an OPG/CBCT for additional imaging clarity and information [7].

A plan about the number of implants required, possible need for bone grafting or sinus related procedures will be drawn up once the imaging reports have been studied and clinical examination performed. This information is important to you since it will give you an idea of the costs involved.

After the surgical plan has been finalized, the actual surgery will be performed. Almost all dental implant placement procedures are performed under local anesthesia, the same kind that you may have got during an extraction or root canal treatment.

The surgical procedure involves uncovering the bone at the implant site, using specific drills to create the space for the size of plant chosen during the surgical plan, placement of the implant and the stitching up the surgical area [8].

Sounds easy right? As a patient, all you need to know is what kind of experience you will feel during implant placement. Apart from the prick of the injection given for anesthesia, there will be absolutely no pain during this procedure. Patients may feel a little bit of vibration as space is being created and some pressure when the implant is being tightened inside the jaw bone.

Depending upon several other factors, an implant requires anywhere from 2-6 months for bone to form around it and it becomes firmly entrenched in the jaw bone.

Recovery After Dental Implant Placement

Okay, so the procedure is done under anesthesia and there will be no pain. What about once the effect of the anesthesia wears off?

Once again, fear about what may happen after implant placement is completely unfounded because, for the large majority of people, there will be little to no pain whatsoever — just some swelling and a little bit of soreness.

Permanent tooth replacement with dental implants is so popular because it is minimally invasive and very easily tolerated by patients. Doctors usually advise rest for a day or so after implant placement, a few precautions on what to eat and avoid but there is no serious recovery process. The stitches may be self-dissolving or may need to be removed after 7-14 days [9].

Aftercare

Once the dental implant has been placed, there is not much that you need to do until the crown has been replaced since it will be inside the jawbone and not visible in the mouth. After the crown has been placed, care must be taken to keep the area clean, avoid excessive pressure on the implant and to get a scaling done every 6 months [10].

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