ABOUT DENTAL IMPLANTS
Dental implants are the latest dental technology for replacing the roots of lost teeth. They are used to support crowns, bridges, and dentures. Implants offer stability, comfort and a sense of freedom for those who have missing teeth and want to regain their smile back.
An alternative to dentures, dental implant is small dental appliances that are inserted into the upper and lower jaws. They help to restore the mouth that has little or no non-restorable teeth.
A dental implant designed is composed of three parts: the titanium implant that fuses with the jawbone; the abutment, which fits over the portion of the implant that protrudes from the gum line; and the crown, which is created by a prosthodontist or restorative dentist and fitted onto the abutment for a natural appearance.
The Mayan civilization has been shown to have used the earliest known examples of endosseous implants (implants embedded into bone). While excavating Mayan burial sites in Honduras in 1931, archaeologists found a fragment of mandible of Mayan origin, dating from about 600 AD. This mandible, which is considered to be that of a woman in her twenties, had three tooth-shaped pieces of shell placed into the sockets of three missing lower incisor teeth. For forty years the archaeological world considered that these shells were placed under the nose in a manner also observed in the ancient Egyptians. However, in 1970 a Brazilian dental academic, Professor Amadeo Bobbio studied the mandibular specimen and took a series of radiographs. He noted compact bone formation around two of the implants which led him to conclude that the implants were placed during life.
The major breakthrough in Implant success, which ultimately led to the very successful materials & techniques now being employed, was made in 1952 by P I Brånemark, in Sweden, while investigating wound healing. In 1965 Brånemark, who was by then the Professor of Anatomy at Gothenburg University in Sweden, placed the first titanium dental implant into a human volunteer, a Swede named Gösta Larrson. By chance it was discovered that titanium was biocompatible and when surgically placed in bone, direct bone contact and complete healing occurred. This reaction of the bone to titanium was termed "osseointegration".
Over the next years, there was published a lot of scientific research on the use of dental implants. In 1978 dental implants was commercialized for the development and marketing. To the present day over 200 of companies produce dental implants.
Dental implants: Root-Form Implant
There are many implants available, each designed for a specific function. Root-form implants are called endosseous or endosteal implants, meaning they are placed in the bone. These are the most popular type of implant. They look like screws, thick nails or cones, and come in various widths and lengths (1 picture).
1 pic. Root-form dental implants
The cylindrical or screw type implant, called root-form, is similar in shape to the root of a tooth with a surface area designed to promote good attachment to the bone. It is the most widely used design and generally placed where there is plentiful width and depth of jawbone.
Are you a good candidate?
A common reason people consider implants is due to poor fit of their dentures, which causes difficulty in chewing and a fear of losing the dentures while talking or eating. The majority of patients treated with dental implants experience a significant improvement in their ability to chew food and they report that the implants are a far more comfortable alternative.
Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost one or more teeth due to periodontal disease or an injury. Candidates for dental implants need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. A thorough evaluation by your dentist will help determine whether dental implants are right for you.
A good dental implant candidate should have the following:
- Over-all good health
- Healthy gums
- Enough bone to anchor the implants in the jaw – A dentist can evaluate the bone structure and recommend treatment options.
- Be committed to taking very good care of the implanted teeth and surrounding gums — Daily brushing and flossing are essential.
Dental Implants can be placed in patients of any age (with fully developed jawbones) provided that they have sufficient quality and quality of bone tissue available. Most healthy individuals that maintain a good oral hygiene program are suitable candidates for dental implants. However, there are few absolute contraindications to implants they should be considered. Smokers and those with uncontrolled chronic diseases or systemic problems may not be good candidates for this procedure. People with poorly controlled diabetes may not be good candidates for implants as well, due to healing problems of the gum tissue that can arise
Circumstances where implants may not be suitable or situations that have an increased risk of implant failure include:
- Heavy smoking – this slows down and hinders the healing process
- Alcohol abuse – disrupts healing of the gums
- Periodontal gum disease – all active gum disease must be treated prior to any implant procedure to ensure long term success of any treatment. Periodontal disease is a major cause of bone loss, which would hinder the success of any implant procedure.
- Immuno-compromised individuals (steroids, auto-immune disease, patients undergoing radiation treatment).
- Teeth grinders (bruxism) – a night time splint can be given to treat this.
Also implants are not recommended in those under 15-16 years of age because facial structures are not done growing.