IMPLANTS IN DENTISTRY

Implants – are foreign objects put into the body to replace the functions of a natural organ. They are especially popular in dentistry. Dental implants, which replace tooth roots, are the basis for dentures and crons which imitate natural teeth.

What cawn you learn from this article?

  • What is a dental implant?
  • How do implants work?
  • Is placing implants painful?
  • How long does implant treatment take?
  • Contraindications to placing implants.
  • Is it possible that the body will reject implants?
  • How much do implants cost?

Only about 70,000 implant are placed annually in Poland, whereas that figure exceeds one million in Germany. It is difficult to precisely determine why so few Poles choose implants. It is probably caused by doubts resulting from the lack of knowledge. An average person still knows very little about this method and the fact is that we fear what we do not understand. Also, the media repeat many myths about teeth fixed on… screws! It only arouses suspicions to such procedures. For the same reason implantological treatment is often mistakenly perceived as painful, very new and not researched enough. However, many people do not realize that implants have been used in their modern form for over 50 years.

How do implants work?
Osseointegration (which constitutes the basis for implantological treatment) consists in fusing permanently the surface of the implant and patient’s bone, thus enabling the doctor to reconstruct missing tooth roots, and then to prosthetically rebuild crowns. This solution has a clear advantage – it allows the implants to stimulate the bone. The bone tissue, where there is a gap after extracted teeth, tends to disappear, which in time may cause not only aesthetical but also functional problems, e.g. problems with maintaining dentures or with their tightness. Using implants, often in connection with techniques of guided bone regeneration with the use of implantable materials, is a solution to these problems.

Is placing implants painful?
For many people the fear of pain proves to be an obstacle that is impossible to overcome. However, that fear is completely unjustified – current anesthesia is so effective that even tooth extraction is painless. The choice of a proper dose and type of anesthesia makes the treatment comfortable for both the patient and the doctor. We do not have to worry about the pain after the procedure either – appropriate medicine will eliminate it completely.

How long does implant treatment take?
There is a common misconception that the procedure of placing implants takes months and we are left with a gap-toothed smile. Duration of the treatment is a very individual matter, but current techniques make it possible to minimize it – from a few months to even one day (in favorable conditions). In this case, it is important to base the treatment on detailed clinical tests and state-of-the-art digital radiography.

Contraindications to placing implants.
Of course, there are contraindications to placing implants. However, it is possible to consider using implants in every case, even if it proves to be difficult with respect to the anatomy of a given patient. We may make the situation substantially easier by performing a guided bone regeneration procedure or a maxillary sinus lift. There is no doubt whatsoever that we also need to take general and local contraindications into consideration. The latter include the treatment of all infections in the oral cavity, tooth decay or parodontosis. There is a common myth that implants are a solution available only to young and mature people, but age itself is not a contraindication to placing implants – quite the contrary! With age, obviously, our needs with respect to prosthetic rehabilitation increase. Dysfunctions of the locomotive system or the spine require orthopedic treatment as we get older, and the same applies to tooth gaps which require implanto-prosthetic treatment. Patient’s age, past tooth diseases or diseases of the tissue surrounding them do not constitute contraindications to implant treatment – quite the opposite. Implants are now placed, among other reasons, because teeth were lost as a consequence of a disease (decay, root canal treatment complications) or an injury.

Is it possible that the body will reject implants?
Statistics show that only between 4 and 6% of implants are rejected by the tissue in the jaw because of an infection which requires removal of screws from the bone or the fact that the artificial tooth is loose or gets broken. If we take proper care of the implants (wash them and take tartar off regularly), 95 to 98% of them is still tightly fixed to the bone 10 years after their placement, exactly like during the first weeks after the procedure. On average, an implant lasts for 30 years.

How much do implants cost?
In our country implants are still perceived as a luxury that can be afforded only by the wealthy. About 75% of Polish dental clinics offers the procedure of implant placing. Although this procedure is really affordable and the quality is high, patients rarely choose this solution. Implantology in Poland is in no way inferior to the western implantology and is cheaper than in the countries of the European Union. An average price of placing implants is € 1600-2400 in the EU. In Poland, it is about € 1000-1500. In fact, the price in only slightly higher than the one of porcelain crowns placed on a traditional bridge.

Implants are in no way worse than natural teeth – they not only fill the gaps and ensure better health but also improve the aesthetic quality, increase our self-esteem and, as a result, make us feel better. At the same time, if taken care of properly, they are a long-term investment. Professional tests combined with the experience of the doctor and cooperation on the part of the patient bring remarkable results – new and very natural “third teeth”.