Segen's Medical Dictionary (© 2012, Farlex) defines implantology as, “A formal term referring to the surgical techniques used to functionally rehabilitate mandibular or maxillary bone rendered edentulous by the vicissitudes of life—e.g., age, attrition, trauma., The dictionary describes dental implants being placed in a two-step process
Firstly “A threaded titanium anchor with scaffolding is drilled into the bone and left in place for 2 to 6 months so bone forms around it, resulting in osteointegration.”
And then, “ A tooth surrogate is screwed in place of a missing tooth.”
Man has used dental implants for the replacement of teeth using various materials and techniques from time immemorial. The earliest instance in history being around 2500 BC when the ancient Egyptians used gold wires to fix teeth. Similarly about 500 BC, the Etruscans soldered gold bands and animal teeth, or teeth fabricated from oxen bones to replace missing teeth. Later Phoenicians, Mayans and people of the Honduras used shells and even stone implants to replace teeth.
Modern Implantology on the other hand is an exact science that is founded on the principle of osseointegration, where bone heals intimately with a titanium implant surface thereby integrating it perfectly into the body and can bear the chewing forces directed upon it.
Implantology allows you the comfort and security of a fixed tooth restoration that behaves like a natural tooth and hence the gives you natural chewing ability and function. You can exert the same biting force on hard substances and more importantly you are able to differentiate and perceive consistencies of different foods as with natural teeth.
Removable Dentures, or other fixed alternatives to replace teeth, like Crowns and Bridges may not give the same efficiency of function, chewing ability and speech as implant supported prostheses. Mostly this leads you to change your food habits and deprive yourself of certain foods that you might like, yet cannot risk eating, because of a denture that may slip or because of a crown that might crack. Plastic dentures also often prevent you from enjoying the taste of food and also it interferes with the clarity and ease of your speech. Lastly, implant supported dentures gives you the comfort and convenience in that you do not have to remove these dentures and clean them after every meal, as in the case of removable dentures.
With five-year success rates as high as 95% for lower jaw implants and approximately 90 % for upper jaw implants, implant retained restorations have become the gold standard for durable restoration of missing teeth and oral function. Implants placed by the pioneer of modern implantology Dr. Per Ingvaar Bränemark had been in function for more than 40 years in his first patient Gösta Larson.
Basically, a dental implant is a titanium based substitute for a tooth root and acts as a foundation for any type of prosthetic replacement of teeth, either as a fixed single tooth or bridge or as a full denture which can either be screwed on to, say four implants, or as a denture that rests on certain ball joints or clips which is quite firm in function but if you wish to, you could remove it yourself.
Are you eligible for an Implant Supported Restoration?
For this – First we need to take an X-ray of your jaws to evaluate the amount of bone available to support such prosthesis.
Secondly we need to check your overall health status – whether you are Diabetic, if you are diabetic then, is your blood sugar level well controlled
- Whether you have blood pressure
- Whether you have high cholesterol levels
- Whether you are allergic to any medicines like an antibiotic called penicillin?
- Whether you bleed badly whenever you had an injury?
- Whether you have had a history of radiation therapy?
Thirdly we need to check your Oral health status – Do you have any gum disease or a history of bleeding gums
- Do you feel you have bad breath?
- Did you have an accident or any trauma?
- How long back was your teeth removed and was it traumatic?
- Do you smoke – if so how many times in a day?
All these are ascertained by a questionnaire and based on this we could decide whether we can proceed or not with implant supported restorations
Risk factors to your Implant failing include – Your habits like smoking and failure to do regular tooth brushing and flossing
- Control of diet in the case of Diabetics
- Those on certain drugs like Bisphosphonates
- Those who have severe Vitamin D deficiency
- Those who have high cholesterol
- Local factors like gum disease
Stages of Implant Treatment
Osteotomy – After you have been selected for an Implant restoration, the implant is placed in your jaw bone in a short appointment.
Osseointegration – In due course of time the jaw bone heals around the implant and bone grows around the implanted titanium fixture, bonding it intimately in the jaw. This healing process can vary from six to twelve weeks according the site in the jaw and the health of the individual. However, in today’s implantology, immediate implants allow you to get your implants and teeth the very same day. Though this can only be done for select patients.
Restoration – Once the implant has osseointegrated, an impression or a mould of your jaw is made and a model of your bite is created, thereafter an attachment called an abutment is attached to the implant by a screw. We can either use a cement to secure a crown on the implant abutment or we can do so by screwing the crown onto the implant directly.
Rigorous oral health care and home maintenance is required to keep the restoration clean and the implant healthy. You are advised to visit our office regularly every 3-6 months for check-up and for prophylactic cleaning of your teeth.
You are also advised to desist from smoking and floss between your natural teeth and also between the implant supported restoration. Using antibacterial mouthwashes also would definitely be a good idea too.
As Prof. Bränemark the father of modern implantology said “No one should have to keep his dentures in a bowl of water”. So rediscover your chewing efficiency through Dental Implants.