IMPLANTOLOGY – A BRANCH OF DENTISTRY FOCUSED ON THE PERMANENT REPLACEMENT OF LOST TOOTH/TEETH
Implantology is the branch of dentistry dedicated to dental implants. The dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is inserted into the jawbone (either the upper or the lower). A natural tooth has two main components: The Crown and the root. The crown is the visible part of the tooth and the root is located below the gum line, in the bone of the jaw. It often takes the form of a screw that is composed of titanium or titanium alloy.
IMPLANTS REPLACE MISSING TEETH
Dental implants can be considered for patients with missing one or more teeth. A dental implant alone does not replace a natural tooth. An abutment must be mounted on the implant once the latter has been inserted into the jawbone. Depending on the number of teeth to replace an artificial crown, a full or partial denture or a bridge will be prepared and installed on the abutment(s).
If the patient only has one missing tooth, a single crown will be sufficient. If several teeth need to be replaced, many options are available: using a single implant with multiple crowns joined by a bridge or prosthesis, or using multiple implants with distinct crowns.
This choice is up to the patient, according to the treatment plan recommended by the implantologist. The insertion of dental implants is a surgical procedure that is usually performed at the clinic and under local anesthesia.
BENEFITS OF DENTAL IMPLANTS
When a patient has lost one or more teeth, dental implants have multiple advantages over other treatments involving removable prostheses. Implants allow the installation of fixed or removable dental prostheses.
They are more comfortable and discreet because they do not cause any unpleasant friction or movement on the gums as in the case of removable prostheses that are not mounted on implants (e.g.: partial or complete dentures). It is possible to get an implant-supported denture that does not even cover the palate at all. No adhesive (denture glue) is required to hold the implant-supported prosthesis in place.
Implants offer better stability to artificial teeth, which facilitates chewing and digestion, improves comfort, and facilitates speech. The patients are not forced to adapt their diet.
Implants allow the distribution of chewing forces between implants and adjacent structures of the mouth (gums, bones, and remaining teeth), which helps to reduce the stress on these structures. When healthy teeth are still in the mouth, the patient can expect to be able to keep these remaining teeth longer than if no implant was installed and if the space created by missing teeth remained vacant.
Implants contribute to the preservation of the alveolar bone (the bone that supports teeth) by preventing bone loss where teeth are missing. When a tooth is missing, the alveolar bone that is used to support it is not stimulated anymore and deteriorates gradually. It does not require grinding and modifying adjacent teeth (like in the case of a traditional bridge).
Implants give the impression of having natural teeth, both aesthetically and functionally, and act as an artificial root anchored in the bone of the jaw, like a natural tooth root. The patients may, therefore, regain the integrity of their facial features that had been affected by the loss of several teeth.
The two main components of an implant (the artificial crown and the implant itself) will not be affected by tooth decay.
Once osseointegration (the alveolar bone blending with the titanium) is complete, the implants rarely need to be replaced and therefore offer a reliable and long-term solution. Despite the high initial cost, the dental implant is a good investment given its life expectancy.
THE COST OF DENTAL IMPLANTS
The costs of dental implants are separated into two categories:
- The cost of surgery (when dental implants and abutments are inserted in the patient’s jaw);
- The cost of the prosthetic restoration (crown, bridge, or denture that will attach to the abutment of the implant).
Although implants are usually associated with a high initial cost of insertion, they have a relatively longer lifespan compared to other replacement options. And give better aesthetics and functionality.
So they are the best options to consider if you can afford them.