Dental implants are one of the most sought after treatments in the dental field, mainly for cosmetic, but also for medical purposes. The dental implant procedure begins with the visit to the dentist for a detailed consultation and ends with the implant being fixed and ready to incorporate the false tooth, unless the patient has any other gum disease which must be rectified first. Generally, most people who receive dental implant treatment are happy with the results.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is basically a cylindrical piece of titanium which is used to replace the missing root of one of the teeth. This root will have to support a false tooth and it’s therefore vital for the implant to fuse with the patient’s bone. Only after this osseointegration or healing process has taken place can an abutment & crown be placed on the implant. All 3 components – the implant abutment and crown – are commonly referred to as teeth implants.
Are dental implants expensive?
Dental implants can be expensive because they need to be manufactured to the highest safety standards. They are used for replacing natural root and holding in place a new tooth, so there is a necessity for them to be of the medically-prescribed quality. This is why it isn’t always recommended to head abroad for cheap dental implant treatment, because though they may be friendly on your wallet they may not be the perfect solution, especially when complications arise.
Costs are also higher if your dental implant requires bone grafting in cases where the existing bone area is insufficient to hold the implant. Costs also vary based on the kind of implant used, which depends on the area where the implant is intended to be placed and the nature of the procedure too. Prices also vary widely based on individual dental clinic fees.
Specialized dental implants Qualifications
Dentists carrying out dental implants, in the UK need to be a registered member of the (BDS) British Dental Society. They also must have specialized in implant dentistry for their postgraduate education. The most desired dentist for placing implants is the one with a ‘Dip Imp Dent RCS’ qualification. It stands for Diploma in Implant Dentistry issued by the RCS (Royal College of Surgeons).
Dentists having Masters Degree in Implant Dentistry can also carry out dental implant procedures. It would also be wise to know how many implants the dentist has performed in their professional career, if you can get that information. Experience counts as it can increase the chances of success.
Steps of a dental implant procedure
As with any dental procedure, the initial consultation is really important.
- The dentist conducts a really extensive examination of the area of the implant.
- The gums, jaw bone and surrounding teeth all need to be examined. This would reveal if there is any gum disease or decayed teeth. If these are present, they need to be addressed before the implants are placed.
- CT-Scans or X-Rays are taken to analyze the quality of the bone tissue, and to look out for any abnormalities before going on with the dental procedure.
When is bone graft needed?
The aforementioned bone graft is needed if the bone tissue in the area is inadequate. The bone for the bone graft is usually taken from the hip, tibia, chin or the lower jaw. The bone is grafted into area of the jaw where the dental implant will be placed. It takes around 6 months for this grafted bone to fuse with the patients jawbone. This gives a solid platform for the new implant in cases of inadequate jawbone density.
The implant is placed by making an incision in the gum tissue which reveals the bone. Then the dentist makes the all-important hole in the jaw at the exact position where the incision needs to be made. Depending on the patient’s anxiety levels the dentist decides whether to perform the procedure under local or general anaesthesia.
Abutment and osseointegration
Once the processes have been carried out to make the area ready for the implant there is the process of placing the implant into the precisely drilled hole in the bone.
A healing abutment covers the top of the implant and the gum is then stitched back and with the stitches removed after a week or two. Then comes the process that would determine the long term success of the implant – osseointegration or the healing process where the implant integrates flawlessly into the surrounding bone tissue over a period of six months.
The final fixing
Once the healing is complete, the dentist once again makes an incision in the gum to place the permanent abutment into the implant. Then, a temporary crown is fitted to the abutment while a final crown is manufactured in a specialized dental lab. Within four to six weeks later the final crown is fitted which has been designed to fit perfectly match in color with the patients existing healthy teeth.
Dental implants have become hugely popular despite being expensive, but considering how effectively implanted teeth function – almost as well as a natural healthy tooth – many people consider them to be worthwhile investment.