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What is an implant?
What is an implant? An implant is a small titanium screw installed in your jawbone in order to replace a missing tooth. It gradually integrates with the bone, which takes about six months. When it is fully stable, the implantologist starts to restore the tooth crown. A special connector is attached to the implant, and next, a porcelain crown is glued to it, restoring the natural tooth look. If all the teeth are missing, the dentist may produce a denture and fit it on two or four implants. Such a denture ensures high user comfort and stability.
Is every person a good candidate for an implant? The list of contraindications is very short. Sometimes, especially if the tooth was lost a long time ago, bone loss occurs. In that case, before placing the implant, the dentist performs a series of procedures to restore the missing bone tissue. This ensures implant stability, so that the patient can use it over many years.
Installing a dental implant
Many patients are afraid that the procedure may be painful. However, there is no reason for fear, because the procedure is performed under local anesthesia and is completely painless. In certain cases, general anesthesia may be applied.
What does this procedure involve? The physician incises the gum to reveal the bone, drills a hole in it and screws the implant in. Sometimes the implant is installed immediately after tooth extraction. Depending on the treatment plan, the gum may be stitched up over the implant.
Grafting implants in the front
Grafting implants in the back
Autogenous bone graft (bone autograft)
Implantation requires a strong bone structure. However, if much time has passed since the tooth was lost, the bone has shrunk, so it has to be rebuilt. An autogenous bone graft is one option. In this procedure, the physician harvests bone tissue from a body part whose health and functions will not be disturbed as a result - usually, the chin or the mandibular angle. Then, the dentist grafts this bone fragment onto the missing bone site, and fixes it with titanium screws. The healing process takes around four months. After that, the dentist may graft the implant.
Physicians may also apply bone graft substitutes but these can be used only for rebuilding minor bone losses. In case of a significant bone loss, a graft is necessary.
Autogenous bone graft
Inferior alveolar nerve lateralization
Bone loss in the alveolar process presents a huge obstacle to implant grafting. It also results in shortened distance between the bone and the inferior alveolar nerve, which is an absolute contraindication against grafting as this might lead to strong pain and injury to the nerve, resulting in impaired sensibility in the lower lip and mouth corners. In this case, the only option is to perform lateralization of the inferior alveolar nerve, surgically moving the nerve to the side (toward the cheeks or lips). Only then is implant grafting possible. Yet since any intervention in the nervous system carries a high risk and possible impairment of sensibility, this procedure is performed only in justified cases.
Maxillary sinus floor augmentation (sinus lift)
When teeth are missing on the side of the upper jaw, bone loss often leads to lowering of the maxillary sinus floor, preventing effective implant grafting in the area.
In this procedure, the mucous membrane of the maxillary sinus is precisely detached and lifted away, and a bone graft substitute is placed into the newly created space. As a result, the missing section of the bone is restored. In favorable medical conditions, the procedure may involve simultaneous implant grafting. In difficult cases, sinus lift may be performed as early as a year before the planned implantation procedure.
Maxillary sinus floor augmentation