What is a dental implant? And what is it for?
A dental implant is an artificial root made of titanium that is shaped like a screw. It allows you to replace an absent tooth. It can be used as a support for a crown, a bridge or a removable prosthesis.
Why replace a missing tooth?
Our dentition, distributed over the two maxillae, forms a stable whole. Each tooth is held in place thanks to its neighbor. The loss of part of this set therefore constitutes a weakening, which can lead, as by domino effect, to a succession of unsuspected and sometimes serious displacements.
Indeed, the extraction of a single tooth, at the beginning, does not change much to the teeth, the other teeth remaining "tidy"
For example here, in the case of the first molar, we see that the tooth located behind begins to lie forward, more and more, until almost completely occupying the space left empty by the extracted tooth.
Subsequently, the tooth which is on the opposite jawbone, no longer in function, also begins to erect and, without treatment, may have to undergo an extraction.
The movements continue, the gum retracts, the root is bare, causing pain and cavities.
The "scenario" continues: the teeth continue to lie down. Chewing can no longer be done on this side of the mouth, which has repercussions on digestion. Jaw joints are disturbed (creaking, pain, buzzing, clicking, etc.). A habit of teeth grinding, called bruxism, can then set in.
But the consequences do not stop there: in fact, in terms of masticatory efficiency, the loss of two teeth on an arch is equivalent to four missing teeth, because the opposing teeth are no longer useful.
The aesthetic and social damage is also important: the absence of a tooth is often perceived, in our relationships with others, as a sign of neglect, or of premature old age.
Better not to wait to get there!
When can an implant be placed?
An implant can be placed either immediately after a tooth has been extracted or after the bone and gum have healed. The surgery is often simple and painless. It is done under local anesthesia as for the treatment of a cavity.
The final prosthesis is performed after stabilization of the bone around the implant (within 2 to 6 months). Under certain conditions, a temporary prosthesis can be placed immediately after implant placement.
What are the indications and contraindications?
To place an implant, the volume and quality of the jawbone must be sufficient. These parameters are usually evaluated using a scanner. However, it is also possible to increase bone volume with the help of a bone graft. It is also important that neighboring teeth and gum tissue are healthy.
Absolute contraindications are rare: they are mainly irradiation of the face, or a high risk of infectious endocarditis (infection of a heart valve by bacteria in the mouth).
Is it painful?
The suites are simple. Pain relievers are prescribed, but patients often do not feel the need to take them.
What are the postoperative consequences?
After the installation of a dental implant, the post-operative consequences (discomfort, hematoma, possible pain) are well controlled and taken care of in a manner adapted to each person.
After the placement of implants, various reactions can appear:
Pain: it depends mainly on the size of the intervention, that is to say the number of implants placed in the session. Post-operative pain varies greatly from person to person. In general, for the placement of 1 or 2 implants, the pain is zero or weak. For larger interventions, additional discomfort is to be expected for a few days.
Edema: this is a swelling of the gum and cheek linked to the inflammatory reaction that follows any surgery. It is often present very lightly. In some cases, it may turn out to be more important.
A hematoma: it is due to internal bleeding that persists transiently after the operation and occurs occasionally. When laid out it may look impressive, but it is rarely disturbing.
As with teeth, rigorous hygiene and regular monitoring are necessary for the maintenance of good health of dental implants.
Infectious complications: implants, like teeth, can come loose. Implant loosening (also called peri-implantitis) is an infectious phenomenon caused by insufficient cleaning around implants.
Mechanical complications: these complications are rare. These are fractures of the implants themselves, or the screws that are used to secure the prosthesis in the implant.
Prevention of complications
The prevention of infectious complications requires careful cleaning of the gum / implant junction. This cleaning must be done at least twice a day with a thorough brushing combining the toothbrush and inter-dental cleaning instruments (dental floss or inter-dental brush). This cleaning must be combined with professional cleaning by the dentist, once or several times a year according to the recommendations of the practice.
The prevention of mechanical complications involves regular monitoring of the bite, that is to say, the careful adjustment of the contacts between the teeth. These adjustments are made in the office with light grinding of the teeth or implant prostheses.
What is a sinus lift?
When a tooth from an upper arch is missing, and the amount of bone in height is insufficient, due to a fairly low maxillary sinus, it is then necessary to perform a sinus lift by adding bone.
Where is the intervention performed?
The placement of the implant and the production of the prosthesis are done at our dental office.
Where do implants come from? Are they reliable?
The implants we place are manufactured in Brignais (west of Lyon), by a company that has been producing dental implants and maxillofacial surgery equipment since 1993.