Dental Implants, Types, Cost & FAQ

What are Dental Implants?

What are Dental Implants?

An implant is an object that is placed or inserted inside the body. It is placed in order to replace a missing part, provide therapy, or assist as a prosthetic material.A dental implant is a root of an artificial tooth. It is fixed into the jawbone and so it can facilitate permanent artificial teeth. Dental implants can support a single artificial tooth or multiple artificial teeth. They are made of dental material like titanium or zirconium.Dental implants (implant) help dental surgeons to restore missing teeth. Unlike dentures or other dental restorations like dental bridges, artificial teeth fixed on top of dental implants are closest to natural teeth. They provide superior functionality enabling chewing of food and clear speech.Dental implants are fixed into the jawbone with a dental surgery. Once dental implants are firmly fixed, artificial teeth, dentures, or crowns are placed.Dental Implants are fixed by prosthodontists who are dental implant specialists. Prosthodontics is a branch in dentistry and it deals with prosthetic restoration of missing, lost, broken, chipped, fractured, and discolored teeth with dental materials like dental implants, crowns, veneers, laminates, and other prosthetic dental materials.A prosthodontist is a dental implant specialist who is qualified for missing teeth replacement with implants.

Who needs Dental Implants?

Who needs Dental Implants?

Anyone who has teeth is prone to lose it at one point or the other. People lose their baby teeth and get permanent teeth. However, there are many circumstances when they lose a single tooth or multiple teeth. Here are a few reasons why a person loses teeth.

Reasons for teeth loss
  • Age – Elderly lose teeth due to aging process or due to dental diseases
  • Dental Cavities – Tooth decay and dental cavities eat teeth from the inside and lead to teeth loss
  • Gum Diseases – Gum diseases like periodontitis leads to gum recession, inflammation, and finally, teeth loss
  • Other disease conditions – Diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis can cause tooth loss
  • Trauma & Injury – Accidents, injuries, and trauma to the oral structures is another cause for teeth loss
  • Tobacco & Smoking – All forms of tobacco are known to cause dental problems and ultimately teeth loss
  • Osteoporosis – This leads to reduced bone density and teeth loss
  • Teeth extraction – In many cases, teeth are infected beyond repair and have to be extracted. This also leads to teeth loss

Among all these reasons, dental cavities and gum diseases are the most likely causes for teeth loss. People who have lost their teeth need dental implants, and crowns or dentures to replace lost teeth.Missing teeth replacement with implants is important because the gap created due to lost teeth destabilizes surrounding teeth and leads to further teeth loss.Other people who have broken, fractured, chipped, and discolored can also opt for dental implants and crowns.

Why do you need a dental implant?

Why do you need a dental implant?

Dental implants have many advantages. They are not only a permanent solution for missing teeth; they restore functionality and appearance. People who have lost one tooth or multiple teeth have a gap.Due to the gap left by lost teeth, the adjacent teeth are at a risk of being misaligned, becoming corked, and becoming loose. When adjacent teeth become loose, they become unstable and ultimately fall off. Apart from this, misaligned teeth can cause pain, infection, and even bone loss.Though dental bridges and removable dentures were used for a long time, dental implants have many advantages over bridges and removable dentures. Removable dentures are loose and tend to fall off during conversation. They do not serve functionally. As for bridges, there is a risk of damage to the adjacent teeth becoming infected and loose.Dental bridges work by taking the support of adjacent teeth on either side in order to bridge the gap of lost teeth. For this, teeth on either side are shaved off. This increases the risk of infection. Moreover, dental bridges can lead to bone loss.That is why dental implants are the best option for someone who has missing teeth.

How do dental implants work?

How do dental implants work?

A dental implant is used as the root in order to fix an artificial tooth. The dental implant is placed inside the jawbone with the help of a dental surgery. Once the site of surgery heals and the dental implant is firmly adjoined to the jawbone, crowns or other dentures are placed on top of the dental implant.

Dental Implants & Dentures – Restoration of Functionality
Chewing food& protecting surrounding teeth

Dental implants and dentures serve the purpose of replacing missing teeth. They offer functionality in terms of the ability to bite and chew food.As they fill the gap created due to lost teeth, they protect the surrounding teeth from misalignment. They prevent surrounding teeth from becoming loose and ultimately falling off.

Improved speech

Dental Implants also assist in articulating speech properly. People with a gap in their teeth caused due to lost teeth tend to have difficulties in articulating certain words. Often, this leads to whistling sounds.People with missing teeth find it difficult to utter words starting with F, J, V, S, Z, CH, TH, and ZH. This is because these sounds require teeth to utter them properly. When there is a gap due to missing teeth, air escapes from the gap and makes it difficult to pronounce properly.After placing dental implants and dentures, one can properly utter these sounds and speak properly.

What are the types of dental implants?

What are the types of dental implants?

There are different types of dental implants, and they are classified as per their certain parameter like:

  • Implant design
  • Attachment mechanism
  • Material & surface of the implant

They are classified in this manner as dental implants can come in various sizes and lengths. They can be made of different materials. The type of dental implant for a particular patient depends upon his/her oral make-up.The types of dental implants include:

  • Endosteal Dental Implants
  • Subperiosteal Dental Implants
  • Transosteal Dental Implants
  • Intramucosal Dental Implants

Each type of dental implant is designed to provide a permanent solution for missing teeth for unique cases. They differ in their design and parts, and are placed in different mechanisms.

Endosteal Dental Implants

Endosteal dental implants are dental implants that are placed into the bone. These are the most common types of dental implants. They are specific types of dental implants that are placed directly into the jawbone.Endosteal dental implants are used for people who do not have any jawbone complications. As they are directly fixed into the jawbone, ideal candidates for endosteal dental implants are those who have healthy jawbones.There are two types of endosteal dental implants and both of them are basically shaped like screws. They include:

  • Blade endosteal dental implants
  • Cylinder endosteal dental implants

Both these types of dental implants are placed surgically into the jawbone (basal bone of the maxilla or mandible).

Blade endosteal dental implant

Blade endosteal dental implants are designed to endure the forces of biting, chewing, and grinding that occurs in the mouth. They have specific design that enables them to have maximum bone contact. This enables them to resist torque forces that occur in the mouth.The part of blade dental implant that touches the bone is widest and is ideal to withstand all forms of stress that occur in the mouth. Due to its unique shape, the procedure for inserting this type of dental implant varies.Prosthodontists and periodontists decide the ideal location for blade endosteal dental implants. They judge the cosmetic outcomes, bone strength, dental arch, and soft tissues and bone that come into contact with the dental implants before opting for blade endosteal dental implants.

Cylinder endosteal dental implant

A cylinder endosteal dental implant has the shape of a cylinder that has the screw threads. This type of dental implant offers the advantage of distributing biting, chewing, and grinding forces all over the implant. Also, the distribution of forces occurs both in the vertical and horizontal directions leading to less stress.Cylinder endosteal dental implants are generally hollow. They tend to have more area in contact with the bone. Added to that, they cause minimal trauma to the bone during the dental implant procedure.As in the case with the blade endosteal implants, cylinder endosteal dental implants are placed only after a thorough evaluation of the bone strength, cosmetic outcomes, dental arches, and the soft tissues.Both types of endosteal dental implants can be placed for full-arch dentures (multiple artificial teeth for upper or lower teeth set) or single tooth.Other variants of endosteal dental implants include Ramus frame implant and root-form dental implants.

Subperiosteal Dental Implants

Subperiosteal dental implants means dental implants placed on top of the bones. They are recommended to people who need dental implants, but do not have the bone strength and bone density to opt for an endosteal dental implant. Subperiosteal dental implants are fixed on top of jawbones in between the gums and the soft tissues above the jawbone.Subperiosteal dental implants are prescribed for people with bone loss in the jaws. With bone loss, a regular dental implant cannot stand firm and take in the forces of biting, chewing, and grinding.Bone loss in the jawbone is witnessed in people with osteoporosis, gum diseases like periodontal disease, calcium and vitamin D deficiency, smoking, poorly-fitted dentures, and teeth extraction. This is called bone resorption.People with bone resorption are not ideal candidates for ordinary dental implants and require subperiosteal implants. Subperiosteal dental implant is essentially a framework with struts and bars. With bars and struts, subperiosteal dental implants can support an entire arch of teeth.As bars and struts are placed with extensions in subperiosteal dental implants, they allow forces in the mouth to be evenly distributed. This allows biting, chewing and grinding without any damage to the implant or the oral structures.Prosthodontists and periodontists choose candidates for subperiosteal dental implants. As the design of this type of dental implant is different, dental implant procedure and preparation isalso different.

Transosteal Dental Implants

Transosteal dental implant is a dental implant that is placed through the bone. It is a type of dental implant that is inserted in the lower jaw. They are U-shaped frames or pins and are inserted through the bone and alveolar sockets. This type of dental implant is not preferred these days as it does not have long term success

Intramucosal Dental Implants

Intramucosal dental implants are those that are implanted in the oral mucosa. They are mushroom-shaped dental implants and are used to support dentures.Other forms of dental implants like mini-dental implants are used to perform procedures like teeth in a day.

Advantages of dental implants

When compared to other forms of replacement of missing teeth, dental implants are far superior as they offer better functionality and esthetics. They are superior to dental bridges, removable dentures, and other artificial teeth.

  • Dental implants look like natural teeth and they improve facial esthetics
  • Dental implants provide superior functionality in terms of chewing, biting, grinding, and speaking
  • They last long and offer permanent solution to missing teeth
  • They prevent bone loss. Dental implants fuse to the jawbone and provide stimuli so that there is no bone loss
  • They improve oral health
  • Dental implants are made of strong and durable materials
  • Unlike removable dentures, dental implants do not slip during speech. Since they are inserted into the jawbone, they are fixed
  • In a comparison of bridges vs. dental implants, there is a risk of damage of adjacent teeth in bridges, which is not present in dental implants

What are the components and materials of a dental implant?

What are the components and materials of a dental implant?

Dental implants essentially consist of six parts. They include:

  • Implant Fixture
  • Cover screw
  • Abutment
  • Abutment screw
  • Cylinder
  • Screw

In a dental implant surgery, the fixture is inserted into the jawbone. Then, the cover screw is fixed on top of the fixture. The abutment is then fixed using the abutment screw. Later, the cylinder is connected to the abutment with the help of a screw. Once the cylinder is fixed on op of the abutment, the dental implant becomes one complete unit.The implant fixture is the root of the dental implant. Over a period of time, this fuses with the jawbone. This process is known as osseointegration. Once this occurs, then other parts of the dental implant are fixed.The abutment rests along the gums. This helps to hold the dentures or crown that would be placed after the surgical site is healed. Once the surgical site is healed, the cylinder is placed. Later on, crowns or dentures are placed.Dental implants also come in various shapes. These include:

  • Cylinder
  • Thread
  • Perforated
  • Solid
  • Plateau
  • Hollow
  • Vented
Dental implant materials

Dental implant materials are chosen for certain specific properties. Since they can be placed inside the jawbone, through the bone, on the bone, and on the oral mucosa, dental implants need to have the property of biocompatibility.With the property of biocompatibility, dental implants do not cause adverse effects when they interact with tissues, fluids, and bone. They do not cause toxicity and can be used for the purpose of dental implants.Dental implant material properties include:

  • Biocompatibility
  • Strength
  • Durability
  • Non-corrosive
  • Non-toxic
  • Hardness
  • Ductility
  • Tensile strength

Earlier, materials like metal alloys like cobalt-chromium alloys were used as dental implant materials. However nowadays, dental implant materials include:

  • Titanium
  • Titanium alloys (titanium with copper, iron, aluminum, vanadium)
  • Ceramics
  • Zirconium (Zirconia)
  • Titanium-Zirconium alloy

Both titanium and Zirconium have numerous benefits when it comes to be ideal dental implant materials. They fuse well with the jawbone, and have high strength. They are non-toxic and offer long term success of the dental implants.While titanium is a metal-based dental implant material, Zirconia (Zirconium) is a non-metallic material that is made of a gemstone called zircon.

Who is an ideal candidate for dental implants?

Who is an ideal candidate for dental implants?

Generally, people who have lost teeth need artificial teeth in order to restore their appearance and functionality. However, not all people are ideal candidates for dental implants.Most people are suitable for dental implants, but the candidature is decided after prosthodontists and periodontists examine the inner structures of the gums, jawbone, the shape of the sinuses, and location of nerves in the oral system.That said, here is a list of people who are not suitable for dental implants

  • Children who are growing
  • People with chronic conditions like uncontrolled diabetes, immune disorders, tissue diseases, cancer patients
  • Heavy smokers
  • Alcoholics
  • People with substance abuse

What is the success rate of dental implants?

What is the success rate of dental implants?

Success rate of dental implants are measured in terms of their 5-year success, and 10-year success. Many studies all over the world reveal that dental implants have a very high success rate both in time periods of 5 years and 10 years.While some studies indicate a 98% success rate, other studies reveal a success rate of 74% to 98%. However, there are changes in the success rate of dental implants due to various reasons. These include:

  • Presence of diabetes, & hypertension in patients
  • Smoking after placing dental implants
  • Location of dental implant
  • Length of dental implant
  • Diameter of dental implant
  • Jawbone quality

Along with these factors that impact the success rate of dental implants, the dexterity of a dental implant specialist, treatment planning, and other external factors also tend to influence the final outcomes.