ImplantsDental implants can be used to replace a single lost tooth or a number of missing teeth and they are currently the most modern form of reconstruction.
Dental implants preserve the integrity of the facial structure and reduce the inconvenience associated with tooth loss. The implant itself looks like a small screw with a diameter of about 3 - 4 mm and a length of 7 to 21mm. It is made of titanium, because it is completely "biocompatible", tolerated and not seen by the human body as a foreign object. The discovery of this property was one of the landmark moments in the history of medicine and was awarded the Nobel Prize.
Implant treatment consists of two phases: surgical and prosthetic.
The surgical stage always begins with a consultation, during which the doctor gathers information about the patient's general health, medicine, completed and current diseases, in order to exclude any contraindications to implantation. During the consultation, the patient also has the opportunity to present their expectations for cosmetic and prosthetic effects and the doctor informs the patient about the risks, warranties and liabilities of the doctor and patient.
Subsequently, based on a panoramic X-ray (OPG) or computed tomography (CT), the doctor conducts an analysis of the patient, checking the bone quality and quantity to check if it is appropriate to take in a standard implant. Otherwise, you might be required to rebuild bones that have been removed in any way through the process of guided bone regeneration or sinus lift jaw. Based on the information gathered, the doctor chooses the correct type and size of implant. At this stage, a detailed treatment plan is also created.
Implantation is a minimally invasive procedure, carried out under local anaesthesia, which makes it completely painless. Depending on the number of implants, this can last from 20 to 60 minutes. The doctor cuts the gums and, using a special drill, prepares the place in the bone into which the implant will be screwed.
The dentist will then check the implant positioning and the wound will be sutured. At this stage, the gum completely covers the implant and no part of it is exposed. Immediately after the implantation, the process of osseointegration begins - that is the natural healing of bone around the implant. The time it takes to complete the integration of the implant with the bone is always determined individually, but it can be assumed that for implants in the upper jaw is approximately 6 months, and in the lower jaw about 2-3 months. After this period, the patient comes to the unveiling of the implant. It is a procedure involving the gingival incision and exposure of the upper part of the implant.
Then, a healing ring is screwed into the implant. This allows for the proper healing of the gums around the exposed implant and models the gum shape around implant for better prosthetic reconstruction. After about 14 days, the patient is ready for the next step - prosthetic reconstruction.
The course of this stage depends on the predetermined treatment plan. Generally, after the removal of the healing ring, an abutment is screwed into the implant (the part that connects the implant with a crown, bridge or denture) and then impressions are taken. They are later sent to the laboratory where the prosthetic technician prepares a crown, bridge or denture. The last visit is to check the stability of the implant connection with the abutment and attach the crown, bridge or denture. The dentist gives guidance on oral hygiene and schedules visits. Implant treatment is complete at this stage.
Once the implant is in place, it will serve well for many years, as long as the patient takes care of them and keeps the mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with the dentist.