The invention of dental implants a few decades ago was a huge development in dental care; with dental implants the possibilities to replace lost teeth was greatly extended. Patients for whom only plastic dentures were available earlier could and can have fixed crowns and bridges, which look and feel like natural teeth. With this improvement not only dental status but the quality of life in general gets significantly better. Let us add another remark here: most things that are done in the dental chair improve general health, digestion, the immune system and therefore the whole quality of life.
Still we often see that patients look frightened or even terrified when they hear the expression „implantation”, they expect something much worse than it actually is. One of our patients expressed the differences between the expectations and the actual experience saying that “if you expect the pain level to be 100, you will realize that it is only 5”.
After thousand of implant procedures carried out in our practice we would give you some further explanation about the process and our patients’ experiences:
Dental implants are used to replace the roots of missing teeth. They are inserted in the jawbone and are able to support different types of dental restorations: bridges, crowns or dentures. The dental implant looks like a tiny screw hold. Implants are mostly made of titanium – in our practice we only use titanium implants – because that is the only anti-allergic metal. Dental implants are produced in various lengths and diameters; the dentist chooses the most appropriate size for the given situation. The implants are inserted in the jawbone with a specially designed implant machine in the ideal angle and position.
The whole procedure – in case of one implant – takes not more than 15-20 minutes, and most of this time is needed for the preparations. In case the patient needs more than one implant, the ones in the same quadrant of the mouth are fitted together; in case they are in different areas of the mouth we mostly plan the procedure according to the patient’s preference.
The intervention is completed in the operating room in a sterilized environment in local anaesthesia. The anaesthetic material makes the gum and the bone numb; therefore the patient does not feel anything. Moreover the jawbone is not supplied with sensitive nerves therefore there is actually to chance for real pain. Only a few seconds of unpleasant feeling may occur when the implants are screwed in – this vibrating sensation lasts only for a very very short time. This small inconvenience is absolutely worth for the benefit of having fixed teeth again.
After the procedure the dentist closes the gum with dissolving stitches, the gum heals completely in a few days’ time. In the first 2-3 days the gum may be tender and swollen but within a week all symptoms should disappear. The stitches will start to dissolve after 7-10 days, then it may be worth visiting the dentist again to remove the remaining stitches and check the healing progress but this is not absolutely necessary: it might be more comfortable to have the stitches taken out within a few minutes but they will dissolve in a few days’ anyway.
Implants need 2-3 months to settle down in the jawbone, after that they will safely be able to support the new crown or bridge. For the healing period you can have a denture or a temporary plastic crown on the implant. In the second stage the dentist opens the gum above the implant, inserts the abutment – another screw, which will hold the new tooth – in the implant and takes impressions for the dental technicians. The impressions show the neighbouring teeth as well, so the technicians are able to make a new crown or a bridge that perfectly fits in its position. The dentist also takes a wax model of the bite so that the height of the new teeth should be perfect. At the same time the colour of the crowns are also determined according to the colour scheme in order that the shade of the new teeth should perfectly match the other teeth’s.
The new crowns or bridges are prepared in the dental lab in 3-4 days, for this time the dentist inserts a so-called healing screw in the implant, which helps the gum healing in a nice, even shape. When the new teeth are ready, the dentist removes the healing screw, inserts the implant abutment again and finally cements the new crown on the implant head. The implant-based crowns and bridges are just as strong as natural teeth – you can freely bite, chew and smile with them. We also have to remark that when the tooth was missing for a long time it takes a few days until you get used to the new tooth but this strange feeling always disappears. It may also happen that the new crown needs some slight height adjustment but this is just a few minute procedure, and – just as everything so far – is absolutely pain-free.
Compared to other dental services having implants is a relatively expensive procedure because with the help of very precise and modern technology completely new teeth are built up. When you compare prices you should consider that implant-based crowns consist of three parts: the implant itself, the abutment, which supports the new tooth and finally the porcelain crown or bridge, which are the visible new teeth. In many practices the three items are separately charged but we – just as in general – tend to be fair and reasonable in this question: when you have the implant, you pay the given price, which includes the abutment as well and when the second, crown stage is done, you pay the price for the crown or the bridge. There are no hidden charges or unexpected items in your bill; you only pay the originally quoted amounts.
Another fact that is worth considering is that in our practice the success rate is extremely high; there are only 1-2 failed implants a year from about 500. Therefore we are happy to provide full guarantee for the implant treatment; in the very unlikely case of implant failure you will have a new implant for free or full reimbursement of the costs.
The results of the implant based crowns and bridges are so reassuring that we have never heard of anybody who would have regretted their decision, the only thing people sometimes regret is that they had not done it much longer before. If you are considering having implant-based crowns or bridges, please contact us and we will be happy to answer all your further questions.