A dental implant is an artificial dental root placed when the natural root cannot be saved. It is permanently or temporarily inserted into the jaw to hold an artificial tooth in place. It is generally made of titanium, a material that is biocompatible with the jawbone.
A dental implant can be placed to support a single tooth, but solutions such as All-on-4 and implants combined with a bridge or prosthesis place several implants at strategic locations in the jaw to support an entire row of teeth (up to 12 teeth).
The fusion of bone and implant is a phenomenon called osseointegration. This is made possible by the physical characteristics of titanium, which is why this material is used for the manufacture of implants. When a tooth is lost, part of the bone that supported it is also lost. When the implant is placed, the bone must sometimes be partially restored.
Implants help to stabilize the jaw, prevent further bone loss and maintain the shape of the jaw bone. Implants are a practical alternative to dentures because they do not pull out and are much more comfortable and natural. When you have an implant, it's like having your old tooth: you feel almost no difference.
Implants are preferable to traditional bridges and crowns because they are not simply cemented to the jaw. They also avoid the alignment problems or pain that other dental reconstruction techniques can cause. Finally, bridges and crowns placed on an implant will not move, will not slip, which saves you all kinds of problems when talking or chewing.
The time required between implant placement and final prosthesis placement may vary depending on the patient. Some dentists say that 6 weeks is enough, while others offer a complete installation in just one day, thanks to systems such as Straumann.
The size of standard dental implants varies from 3.5 mm to 6 mm in diameter.
Most often, the implants are made of titanium, but there are also colored zirconia dental implants available in some clinics.
Duration of hospital stay
1 to 3 hours.
It is recommended to have a few days to recover.
Average length of stay
2 to 3 days.
It is necessary to plan two stays at 2-6 months intervals.
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Before considering any dental surgery, your specialist will take readings and studies on your jaw, nerves, sinuses, and the entire bone area around the area where the procedure will take place. In some cases, your dentist will also have you scanned to determine your bone structure. Of course, any source of infection, inflammation or other problem discovered on the part to be operated on will be treated before considering tooth replacement. This assessment is necessary for the dentist to evaluate if a bone graft is necessary, but also to know the duration of the treatment.
The placement of an implant requires a very rigorous protocol. Asepsis had to be perfect to avoid post-operative infection. Today techniques have evolved and a normal asepsis for a septic medium such as the mouth is sufficient.
First of all, the dentist must access the bone, clearing the gum. To do this, he/she makes an incision with a scalpel, then removes the gum to clearly see the surgical site. Today, 3D scanners that reproduce the precise anatomy of the jaws on a computer allow much less invasive surgery in common cases. To do this, the implantologist will design so-called implant imaging guides.
The implantologist will use drills of increasing diameter to prepare the place in the bone. Bone drilling is done at a very low speed and under irrigation, to avoid any heating of the bone, which could cause necrosis. Drilling continues gradually, until the diameter is very slightly smaller than that of the planned implant.
An implant is between three and six millimeters in diameter and between six and eighteen millimeters in length. The implant must be stable and penetrate the bone with slight force. After the implant placement, the osseointegration phase will take place. Indeed, unlike teeth, implants are totally fixed, i.e. ankylosed in the bone.
Implant loading is generally delayed to allow the osseointegration phase (several weeks to several months). If forces are applied too early on the implant, it may become mobile; a fibrous bond will form between the implant and the bone, which is not desired. However, with new implants and under certain conditions, the implant can be loaded immediately with a temporary prosthesis.
Artificial teeth are placed on an outpatient basis. You can schedule this operation in a clinic or at the dentist's office. Depending on your level of anxiety, the procedure will be performed under local or general anesthesia.
The procedure takes about 45 minutes, but in some cases the procedure may take longer if the dentist places several implants.
After the procedure, you will probably experience some unpleasant effects. The most common discomforts are pain, swelling and bruising. You will also need to be very careful about the pressure you put on your implants because it must be minimal during the healing process (between 4 and 6 months). However, these inconveniences are nothing compared to the pleasure you will experience after this operation.
After the procedure, it is not advisable to eat solid food and smoke.
Implant techniques are not always possible.
• General contraindications to patient health: uncontrolled diabetes; immuno-depression; carrier of valvulopathy; glomerulonephritis; recent myocardial infarction; osteoporosis with some intravenous treatments from the biphosphonate family.
• Relative contraindications: smoking patient; pregnant woman; taking anticoagulants; HIV-positive.
• Relative local contraindications: the available bone volume (which can sometimes be compensated for, for example, by bone grafts). Some gum diseases (lichen, leukkeratosis…) must be treated beforehand and any dental infection in the vicinity.
It is therefore important to inform the dental surgeon beforehand about your medical condition.
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