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Dental implants.

Anyone may lose a tooth, either through trauma (when teeth are knocked out) or due to decay, gum disease or old age. Whatever the reason for loosing teeth, they need to be replaced, both for aesthetic and functional reasons. The most common treatments for missing teeth are either a denture or a fixed bridge, which, unfortunately, does not look natural. However, dental implants are now becoming the most popular treatment to replace missing teeth.

To cast light upon this simple remedy with proven results, we need an expert's opinion. Dentist--implantologist--Dr. Sergey Andrievsky (dental practice "Dental Art") answers the most frequent patient's questions.

Why do people choose dental implants?

People who have lost teeth may be embarrassed to smile or talk. Additionally, biting irregularities caused by tooth loss can have a negative effect on eating habits and this can lead to secondary health problems. In most cases dental implants can be a perfect solution because they slow down bone loss and preserve nearby healthy tooth tissue, not mentioning the excellent visual effect.

What is a dental implant, indeed?

A dental implant is a titanium screw, which is produced from biocompatible titanium and replaces the tooth root. Implant-based teeth are an ideal solution for people who, for any reasons, have lost their natural teeth completely (with the root). The implant provides the foundation for further prosthetics to create artificial teeth that will look and function just like natural teeth.

How does the implantation procedure work?

Firstly, a patient's mouth and teeth are examined and medical and dental history is taken. An X-ray provides a clear idea of the patient's bone density and the shape of patient's jaw in order to plan the future treatment.

The process of implantation involves two stages: an operation (surgical part)--insertion of implant, and building up artificial teeth (prosthetics).

During the first stage--the surgery--a recipient site of the same shape and size as the implant is created in the jawbone. The implant is being placed in the jawbone, and left there for 3-6 months while the process of osseointegration (bonding with bone) takes place. Then the dentist opens the gum above the implant and inserts the so-called gum former, so that the future tooth forms correctly and has a nice gingival contour. After two weeks the prosthetic part can be started.

During the second--prosthetic--stage the dentist takes dental impressions and the laboratory produces a crown, that looks and functions completely like a natural tooth.

What are the main benefits of dental implants for a patient?

1. Aesthetic--dental implants look, feel and function like natural teeth.

2. Permanent and reliable--dental implants are long lasting and very rarely require further treatment.

3. Enjoying life: Smiling--implants provide excellent aesthetic results, which will improve the cosmetic effect of your smile.

Eating--dental implants, in contrast to the prosthesis, will give you the chewing ability to enjoy once again a wide range of food items. Speaking--dental implants allow you to speak with confidence, in a relaxed and natural tone.

4. Maintain healthy teeth and jaws--dental implants prevent bone loss and gum recession.

Is a dental implant ever rejected by the body?

Of course, dental implants may fail, but, fortunately, such cases are very rare. The possibility of rejection depends on the localization of the implant in the mouth, and whether the implant is placed there in the natural or transplanted bone, and whether the patient smokes (a very important factor!), and maintains good hygiene, or due to other health conditions.

What is the success rate of dental implants?

According to statistics, implants are successful in 95% of cases when they are placed in the natural bone, and 85-90%--in the transplanted (grafted) bone.

How long do dental implants last?

Under proper conditions, the implant can serve for a lifetime! After implantation, good oral hygiene should be maintained. Of course, even after the dental implant is placed, do not forget about the regular visits to the dentist and hygienist.

When are dental implants not recommended?

There are cases when the implants cannot be used. This could be an increased risk of illness when the patient's immune system is weakened. For adult patients the risk of osteoporosis increases, when bones become porous and brittle. Such cases are very rare and usually are already known to the patients. There are also relative contraindications (which can be avoided): frequent smoking, poor oral hygiene, inflammation of the gums. If these factors are eliminated, the implants can be placed in any patient, whose state of health allows visiting a dentist. If you can treat your teeth, you can also get implants!

Is the implanting procedure painful?

Many patients say that the implant placement operation is less painful than tooth extraction. Thanks to modern local anesthesia and proper postoperative care, discomfort and pain can be minimized.

How many teeth can a dental implant support?

Traditionally, an implant placed into your bone supports a single crown and this is known as a "single tooth implant". However, if you have several missing teeth, you do not necessarily need an implant for every missing tooth: one implant can support several teeth via a bridge. In cases of full-mouth reconstructions, a minimum of five to six implants would be required. The exact number of implants needed depends on the individual case and your implant surgeon will be able to advise you on the best solution after a thorough examination and assessment.

How much do dental implants cost?

The price of dental implants varies and depends on several factors--the amount of work required (i.e., bone grafting) and the number of implants required. In our practice, the cost of a single tooth implant is 490 euros (surgical part) and 490 euros (prosthetics).

Is there any warranty provided in case of failure? There can be no guaranty in medicine, only prognosis, but our dental practice is one of the few, who take responsibility for every patient. We sign an agreement with the patient, where all details are mentioned. In case of failure, for example--rejection, a new implant will be inserted free of charge.
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Title Annotation:Out & About
Publication:The Baltic Times (Riga, Latvia)
Date:May 12, 2010
Words:1007
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