An implant is an artificial root that is surgically placed in the jawbone.
Implants are usually placed by a dentist-implantologist, a dentist who is specialized in placing implants and regularly does this in practice. If your own dentist is not experienced in placing implants, he will refer you to such a dental implantologist, or to a dental surgeon. To whom you are referred depends, among other things, on who will make the so-called superstructure. With an implant alone you are not there, the implant is only a foundation or support in the jaw.
The superstructure is the part that protrudes above the gums and forms the basis for a crown to be made later, or a bar for under a denture. If your own dentist does not make the superstructure, he will send you to an implantologist who can take care of the implantation and making of the superstructure. A dental surgeon only does the surgical part of the treatment, he will not make a superstructure. You will be referred to a dental surgeon if your own dentist is responsible for the continuation of the treatment.
An implant is usually made of titanium, a material that has been used in medicine for a long time and is well tolerated by your body.
What are the preparations for treatment?
The dental surgeon or dental implantologist will first take photos of your jaws to see if your jaw bone has sufficient thickness for an implant. If the bone is not sufficiently thick, there are various options for raising the jaw. The explanation of this falls outside the scope of this book. Your dentist will inform you extensively about this if you do not have enough bone to place an implant immediately.
Furthermore, if you have your own teeth, a culture is made from the bacteria in your mouth. Because there is a small chance that you have bacteria in your mouth that cause periodontitis. If this is the case, you will first receive a course of antibiotics and a referral for the dental hygienist. If you start implant treatment with an optimally healthy mouth, the risk of failure is much smaller. The same applies to smoking, smoking reduces wound healing. Someone who does not smoke is more likely to have successful implant treatment than someone who smokes.
Is the treatment painful?
You will be anesthetized for the treatment itself. With the current disposable needles, an anesthetic need not hurt anymore. After treatment, a striking number of people indicate that they have little to no pain.
How often do I have to come to the practice?
At least four times before the implantation, after that follow the agreements for the restoration that will be made on the implant, or for the new dentures to be made.
The first visits are for intake and photos, preliminary discussion and budget, the procedure for implantation and after a few months placing the superstructure.
What inconveniences can I expect during treatment?
Your face will be partially covered with sterile cloths. There are also the inconvenience of water cooling and keeping your mouth open for a long time, both comparable to 'normal' dental treatment.
Your mouth is anesthetized locally, this is the same anesthetic as filling or pulling holes. Once the anesthetic has been worked in, the implantologist will make an incision in your gums where the implant will be. The gums are pushed aside a little, so that a view of the jaw bone is created. A tunnel is drilled in the jawbone with a special drill, which is exactly the size of the implant to be placed. The implant is screwed into the bone and the gums are attached to it again.
If it is a question of replacing a tooth, the implant will of course be placed on the tooth. When it comes to support for dentures, two or four implants are placed. At least two at the place where the canines used to be, and possibly two at the back of the mouth.
This is the end of the first treatment phase. The wounds made are sutured with suture material that dissolves itself (which can take two to three weeks) and you go home with an emergency provision. If you wear dentures, then your old teeth serve as the emergency provision, usually the inside will be adjusted to ensure that the new implants are not burdened. If the implant replaces a tooth, an etching bridge is placed in the hole for this time.
Only after three to six months have the implants grown well in the bone. Sometimes it is possible to directly load the implants, you can discuss this with your dentist during the preparation of the treatment pan.
The treatment is now being continued with the placement of the superstructure. For this you are again locally anesthetized. The dentist feels exactly where the implants are located under the gums and makes a hole through the gums to reach the screw cover on the implant. The cover is unscrewed from the implant and a superstructure is screwed in its place. This sticks out through the gums. Now the final treatment can be continued: placing a crown or making a roof prosthesis.
Which additional objections can I expect?
Swelling of your mouth. Immediately after treatment you often receive a cold pack to prevent a lot of swelling. For the sake of certainty, it is wise to also have a cold pack at home. Inserting and having implants implanted is not an à la minute job. If you have dentures, count one year for the entire process, three to six months for a single implant as a tooth replacement. The healing phase is very important; If all goes well, the chance of success is high.
If you have dentures, you can continue to wear it during the healing phase, it will be adjusted inside so that it fits over the implants. If you receive an implant to replace a single tooth, you will wear an emergency etching bridge or sometimes a plate during the healing phase.
What end result can I expect?
With a tooth replacement. There is another tooth at the place where there was previously one missing. In the past, a dark border was often seen above the crown, the neck of the implant. Nowadays this is no longer the case, there are many implant forms on the market, your dentist has a choice of different sizes and will usually be able to predict whether the crown edge can be covered nicely by gums. The dental bud is a second problem. If your teeth are neatly against each other, there is a papilla between two teeth. If you don't have any gaps between all the teeth.
The placement of the implant, the shape of the crown and the amount of bone determine whether or not your dental bud will return after inserting a crown.
With a roof prosthesis. The dentures are stuck again. You can eat and drink again and you no longer have to use adhesives to keep the teeth in place. From now on you have to "brush your teeth" again! Your implants must be kept very clean, if they want to last a long time. At the end of the treatment you will receive a specific explanation from your dentist or dental hygienist. The usual brushing method is also suitable for implants. The rod or any other constructions provided for holding can be cleaned with a brush. Take care that the metal inside of the brush does not damage the implants. In addition to brushing your teeth, you will also have to visit your dentist regularly for a check-up and cleaning of the implants.