Do I need dental implants? The answer depends on the way you would like to fix your partial or total tooth-loss. Implants represent a great way to treat tooth-loss, but as everything, they too have advantages and disadvantages that the patient needs to consider. The main advantage of implants is the fact that they themselves can hold the crowns, the adjacent healthy teeth do not need to be prepared (grinded) so they can hold a dental bridge above the gap; in some cases even a full denture can be avoided using implants. Their disadvantage is their price, as they are considerably pricier than a bridge held by adjacent teeth; and the final work will be fitted in the mouth after 3-4 months, compared to the 10-12 days of the teeth-held bridge.
Dental implants are sorrounded by a mysthical fear, which not too long ago wasn’t unfounded. When implants were first used, they had the bad habit of getting infected, falling out, the „organism not accepting them”. With the fast advancement of technology and techniques, however, much has changed in the shape of the implants, their surface processing, screw thread size – learning from the mistakes of the past, nowadays the success rate of dental implants is 98% worldwide.
These days the dental implantation procedure has become a routine operation, comparable to filling or professional hygiene. Usually the operation takes 30-40 minutes, out of which 10 minutes is the implant insertion process, the rest of the time is used for the minutious preparation of the sterile fields and the sewing of the small cut on the gum.
The implantation procedure is a very easy operation, with patients exclaiming „That was all?” at the end. Normally the doctor finishes quickly and the pain is minimal, as the bone, where the implants get screwed in, doesn’t contain any nerves, thus the patient cannot feel anything there. The only discomfort can be felt at the level of the gums, where the small incision was made, but that passes by the following day.
Of course, the implantation also has risks in some cases, which can be easily noticed beforehand by an experienced doctor, based on the x-ray. The doctor and patient can discuss it before starting the operation and decide together, whether to take the risk, or try another approach. Two risks can be present: the more serious one can happen on the lower jaw, when the height of the bone is not sufficient and the implant can injure the nerve running in the mandibular canal – in this case there can be a temporary, or even final paralysis of the lower lips on the side of the operation. This can be very unpleasant, but can be treated by removing the implant and using vitamins for the nerve to regenerate. If the numbness of the lower lip didn’t go away by the next day after implantation, the treating doctor must be notified immediately so he/she can remove the implant in time and treat the nerve before possibly trying again.
On the upper jaw, another risk must be kept in sight: at the location of the upper molars, the maxillary sinus usually descends after tooth removal, and sometimes there isn’t enough bone left for the implant. The dentist will measure the available bone height and chose the appropriate implant – if for some reason the implant still manages to get drilled inside the sinus, blood might flow from the nose and sinusitis might follow. This however does not have long term negative effects, usually the implant doesn’t need to be removed. The insufficient bone quantity can be resolved with sinus-lift operation and bone addition, if needed.
The process of manufacturing the porcelain crown on the implant is the following: on the first visit the dentist screws in the implants into the bone, then closes the gingiva above them, so they can heal for 3-6 months undisturbed while the bone grows in between the screw threads. Only after this can we attach the implant abutment on top of the implant, and the dental technician can manufacture the porcelain crown on it. The material of the implant is titanium, which is the most tissue-friendly metal known – this offers the necessary durability and stability for the overlaying crown (the production of zirconia implants has been discontinued, as they tend to be resorbed in the bone after a few years).
Those who wear full dentures (which might fly out when sneezing, or fall off when talking, even impairing the tasting capability of the mouth), and cannot take it anymore, can also be helped with implants. With the insertion of 3-4 implants in the jaws, a new, implant-retained denture can be manufactured, which (despite the evening taking out-cleaning-putting back procedure), is very stable and can only be removed with great force, it doesn’t move around even when eating apples, and the patients can feel taste better, due to the small horse-shoe shape on the denture – compared to the old, full denture covering the palate.
When considering implants, be careful, not to only ask the price of the implants, but also the price of the implant abutments, and crowns. There are differences in price between different types of implants as well: for example the ones made with the well-known german accuracy, 3D printed implants, with perfect precision have a more initial price – compared to the lower quality implants, which require lower initial expense, but one must think it through if it is worth drilling an implant with low durability into your bone.
If you have further questions, or would like to ask for a free consultation from our doctors, to see if you are a good candidate for implants, feel free to call or write us.