When patients come up to us for a consultation concerning implants, most of them tend to have the same questions. In this article, we will address these queries and talk about how tooth implantation is executed.
Implantation is absolutely safe because it is a completely predictable procedure. The dental-implant specialist assesses all the steps involved in the implantation process, well in advance and informs patients as to what they can expect from each stage of the procedure. There is a 98% statistical probability that the implant will survive in the body, post-procedure.
Dental implants are made from biologically inert titanium which does not cause allergic reactions and quickly integrates into the human body. It might come as a bit of a surprise but titanium implants have been used in dentistry for over fifty years. During this period, these implants have demonstrated their absolute reliability.
The precise answer to the question is that there are absolute contra-indications and relative ones. Patients who have undergone treatments for cancer such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, fall in the first group. They can’t have implants installed, under any conditions. These patients have very low blood circulation in their bones, which makes it impossible for the implant to survive.
Relative contraindications should be understood as situations wherein a person’s health status, in that particular time, precludes them from getting an implant. But, if the health condition is treated, it becomes possible to carry on with the implantation. In case of diabetes, the concerned specialist needs to take a great deal of care to ensure success. However, diabetes is not an absolute contra-indication to implantation. Recent studies indicate that diabetic patients with well controlled blood glucose levels have the same chances of implant survival as non-diabetic patients.
Before the implantation, special attention is paid to patients who have been prescribed a special class of medications known as “bisphosphonates”. These drugs are used to treat osteoporosis as well as to prevent metastases in cancer patients. In such cases, implantation is carried out with extreme caution.
Classical implantation (except in those situations where it is necessary to obtain bone tissue) takes between 40-60 minutes. As for the issue of whether the patient experiences any discomfort, the simple answer is a resounding “no”. Thanks to the use of anesthesia, there is no serious discomfort. Needless to say, the patient will feel the specialist exerting pressure on the gums at various points during the procedure, but this does not cause any significant unpleasantness to the patient.
At the end of the implantation process, there is swelling of the gums which may last up to 2 days. This is completely normal and is a phenomenon that is explained by the standard response of the body to external injury. On average, the stitches are removed by 7th-8th day. The lower-jaw implants usually take hold in two months. On the upper jaw, because the bones are looser, it might take 4-6 months for the implants to take hold and guarantee complete implant survival.
The following are the main stages of the tooth implantation process:
Note that during the implantation, the second stage is the most crucial, with respect to the fact that sometimes, patients are not aware of certain underlying diseases and therefore, it is imperative that they pass all the necessary tests.
Fact: Tooth Extraction is considered to be a more traumatic procedure than implantation. The tooth is located in a specialised socket, wherein a huge number of nerve endings are concentrated. The implant, notably, isn’t placed in this socket but inside the bone, where there are no nerve endings whatsoever! During the procedure, the patient experiences no pain but in the day following the procedure, there may be pain in the gums, until they heal completely. In such cases, the doctor usually prescribes pain medication.
This is a rather important question, and so we have dedicated a separate part of the article to answer it. When all the stages of dental implantation have already been completed, many patients start to worry, right from the initial post-procedure days, if all the work will be for nothing and if the implant will take hold and survive. Actually, it is possible only during the orthopedic stage to conclusively establish if the implant has got accustomed. Up to this point, the concerned experts can only make informed predictions about the likelihood of a successful outcome. However, if in the first few weeks following the procedure, the patient does not experience any esthesia (pain) or inadequate healing of the gums, there is a very high probability that everything is going smoothly. Conversely, if there is painful esthesia at any point, you have to contact the specialist immediately to rule out the possibility of complications.
Many people worry about how soon after the implantation process can they resume their regular professional activity - we usually recommend a break of two to three days to aid recovery. This is because work, for most people, entails a lot of communication (talking) or high levels of activity. This puts strain on the muscles of the oral cavity, which increases blood supply in the area of implantation, which increases the wound tension. This increases the risk of the wound taking a longer time to heal.
There are over 1000 different implant manufacturers in the world. Certainly, it is impossible for a doctor to work with all of them. As a rule, implant specialists tend to favour three or four different systems, which they offer to their patients. It is sometimes suggested, quite naively, that all implants are the same. This is definitely not true. Each manufacturer offers systems of varying quality. The durability of the implant is obviously a direct function of how good it quality is. The process of implantation can be represented as a constructor build up. And if at least one of the parts is not attached improperly or not tightly enough, it will certainly have an impact on the service life of the implant and the quality of the implant itself.
We would like to emphasise that special care needs to be taken after a dental implantation procedure. We are big believers in an individualised approach - We share our personalised recommendations with each of our patients, in depth. Nevertheless, there are a few generalised rules that are universally applicable to all patients.