What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a titanium root that is screwed into the bone and will replace the root or roots of a missing tooth .
As it is only a false root, and not a whole tooth, it will then cover this implant with a crown (prosthesis that can be made in different alloys, the same as for conventional prostheses on natural teeth).
The placement of the dental implant therefore involves a surgical phase, most often very light and feasible under local anesthesia. This technique therefore makes it possible to replace missing teeth, without resorting to removable prosthesis designs, or to bridges whose longevityis limited and which often require devitalizing and mutilating healthy teeth.
What technique is used?
It was developed in the 1950s by a Swedish surgeon and usually takes place in two stages:
Implantation of the dental implant: under local anesthesia, the practitioner incises the gum and prepares accommodation in the bone.
Then he screws or inserts the dental implant , closes the gum and allows bone healing to occur.
This phase of waiting, called “putting in nanny”, aims to allow the healing of the bone around the implant: it is osseointegration.
The intervention may seem impressive but it is now very well controlled by professionals.
Placement of the definitive prosthesis: After 2 to 6 months of healing (placement in the nanny), a short incision will be made and the dental implant will be cleared.
The surgeon will install a gingival screw.
An impression should be made shortly thereafter to allow the dental technician to develop a matrix and create the new teeth or teeth that will be posed by the dentist.
What are the contraindications to the dental implant?
Diabetes mellitus, transplantation, immune deficiency, lack of bone, bone diseases, haemorrhagic risk, poor oral hygiene , cardiac valvulopathy.
Smoking is not a contraindication but it delays healing and increases the risk of losing the implant.
What are the postoperative consequences?
The placement of a dental implant requires incising the gum and digging a small housing in the underlying bone. The healing time will then take about 2 to 6 months. During this time, you should follow the following tips.
- Oral hygiene is essential: brushing at the level of painless areas, as well as a specific postoperative brush for the operated area and complete with mouthwashes to begin the day after surgery.
- Respect the treatment prescribed by your surgeon: analgesics (against pain) and antibiotics (against bacterial infections)
- It is normal to feel discomfort after the procedure. On the other hand, the pain must be controlled. You must take an analgesic even before the end of the anesthesia and continue taking before the pain is felt.
- The bleeding lasts a few hours or even days after the operation: apply a compress and squeeze the bleeding for 30 minutes. Avoid spitting the first days so as not to cause bleeding.
- Edema and bruising may appear and disappear within a few days of surgery. You can prevent them by applying an ice pack for several hours immediately after the procedure.
- If you have trouble chewing, choose a liquid diet that is cold or warm.
- Do not smoke during the days following the procedure because the tobacco retards healing.
- Finally, no sport for several days.
What are the main benefits of dental implants?
Implant treatment allows:
- Avoid the use of a removable prosthesis (denture). The patient benefits from a better comfort, a better masticatory efficiency, often a better speech and a better image of himself.
- Do not crown and devitalize the teeth adjacent to the edentulous area (as should be done when a traditional bridge is made). This is obviously very interesting if these teeth are healthy, but it is also in situations where these adjacent teeth are treated but remain fragile and unable to support a bridge (short roots, tooth mobility).
- Stabilize a removable prosthesis that would be mobile and inefficient. The implants then receive attachment systems that firmly stabilize the prosthesis during chewing. The patient, however, continues to remove his prosthesis for daily hygiene care.
In some cases, the implant treatment is not indicated (insufficient quality and quantity of bone, for example) and it is up to the dentist to advise his patient best.
Is there a risk of failure?
The failure rate is low: from 1% to 2%
How long does a dental implant last?
Once the dental implant is osseointegrated, it can be considered as being for life. With the function, the prostheses placed on the implants will wear out or be damaged like natural teeth.
But they can easily be repaired or replaced while maintaining the same dental implants.