What are Dental Implants?
This article provides information about conventional dental implants. To read our advisory on basal implants, please click here
Dental Implants have sparked a revolution in the field of dentistry, and Acharya Dental Chennai is proud to be one of the pioneers in bringing this field to India more than two decades ago. Dental implants are titanium inserts which are placed in the jaw bone and serve to restore one or more missing teeth. They are also used to more effectively retain dentures, and patients who wear dentures retained by them are very happy with the added security and comfort that they provide.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
When there is a situation where there is a single or multiple missing teeth in the mouth, replacement of that missing space by dental implants offers certain advantages over a bridge and/or a denture. They are:
Teeth made on dental implants look like natural teeth. They do not look artificial. Patients have reported a very high level of satisfaction with the appearance of teeth on dental implants. 
- They are fixed in the mouth. A tooth made on a dental implant does not have to be removed at night.
- They feel natural. Studies have shown that patients who have dental implants to replace one or more teeth report very high levels of satisfaction regarding comfort. 
- They help reduce bone loss. When a tooth is missing in the jaw, the bone which was surrounding the missing tooth starts to shrink because of lack of function. Placement of dental implants helps to greatly reduce this loss of bone. 
- They are far more comfortable than removable dentures. 
- They are as efficient as natural teeth for chewing food. 
- They can be maintained the same way as normal teeth, with regular tooth brushing and flossing.
Why can’t I just get a bridge?
A major advantage of implants over conventional bridges is that no adjacent teeth need to be reduced in order to place a dental implant. In a bridge, neighbouring teeth need to be shaped down to accommodate a bridge and replace a missing tooth. When implants are used, the neighbouring teeth are spared and the missing tooth is effectively restored. In some cases, the cost of a single dental implant and a crown is exactly the same as a cost of a bridge,
so there’s even more reason to spare the adjacent teeth and avoid placing a bridge when an implant can be used.
What if I need a denture? Can I still have dental implants?
Yes, absolutely. A conventional denture is made of acrylic and sits directly on the gum tissue, or uses the support of existing teeth in the case of a partial denture. With dental implants, attachments can be added to the implant and the denture to provide extra retention for the dentures, reducing the need for the use of dental dhesives and promoting improved chewing ability and patient comfort. The implant retained denture will still be removable, but only when you want to remove it and will not accidentally come out or move around during chewing food and talking.
How do I know if dental implants are possible for me?
Following a detailed history, clinical examination and diagnostic imaging (X-rays and CT Scans), our team will discuss the possibilities of using dental implants to replace missing teeth in the mouth. Most patients are good candidates for receiving dental implants, however there are a handful of specific conditions where implants are not advised. In the event that there is insufficient bone to place the dental implant, it may be required to enhance the volume of available bone with artificial bone. This artificial bone may be placed simultaneously at the time of implant placement, or may be placed initially, followed by a 3-6 month healing period, after which the implant is placed.
How is the procedure planned?
After a detailed planning phase which involves diagnostic impressions, X-Rays and CT Scans, the surgical team digitally plans the placement of the future implant on the computer. This plan is then used to fabricate a “surgical guide” to ensure accurate placement of the dental implant in your mouth. In certain conditions, we can immediately place artificial teeth on the implants and you can walk out of the facility with brand new teeth. In some cases, we will have to wait for a certain time period to ensure that the bone around the implant is healed before we replace the missing tooth or teeth. In general, this waiting time before the final restoration is made is between 4-6 months. During this waiting period, temporary teeth will be made for you.
We practice implant dentistry under local anesthesia, optionally using General or Sedation anesthesia. All types of implant treatment ranging from conventional implantology to more advanced techniques such as All-on-4 and Zygomatic implants are done at Acharya Dental. We use a coordinated team approach consisting of a surgical and restorative dentist to ensure that you get the best result possible. All of the various options available to you will be discussed at the time of your appointment.
Is there a minimum age for dental implant treatment?
In general, dental implants should be placed only after growth of the patient has stopped, which is around 18 years. This ensures that the implant is in the right place to hold the future tooth after the completion of growth.
How much do dental implants cost?
There is a wide variation in the cost of dental implants, as it depends on the brand of the implant, the quantity of bone available and the need for bone grafting, the need for a temporary on the implant, and finally the material used for the final implant crown. As a quick reference, the cost of dental implants in India are about 4-5 times less than the cost in USA. For example, a single dental implant including crown typically costs USD 500 - 900 (about Rs. 35,000 - Rs. 65,000). Different options of crown material and implant brands are available to make dental implants affordable for everyone. A complete costing will be given to you prior to planning your implant surgery.
What can I expect during the surgery?
All procedures are done under local anesthetic. There is an option of performing the procedure under conscious sedation or general anesthesia as well. In general, a single implant placement takes about 30-45 minutes. Most patients report little to no discomfort during the implant surgery as we ensure sufficient anesthesia before commencing the procedure. Patients are usually required to start a course of antibiotics prior to the surgery to ensure good healing after the surgery.
What can I expect after the surgery?
Post-surgery discomfort, if present, is managed by over the counter pain medication. Most patients report little to no discomfort after the procedure. Mild swelling may be present for 2-3 days depending on the procedure. A diet of soft food may be advised immediately after the procedure till the healing process is complete. Care and maintenance (cleaning) instructions will be provided to you by the team, and you will be asked to visit Acharya Dental in 7-10 days for a follow up appointment. If stitches are used during the surgery, these are removed in 7-10 days.
What can I eat after the surgery?
After the surgery, we advise patients to eat soft food for 2-3 days. It is also advisable to avoid very hot (temperature) foods on the day of the surgery. If you have been given temporary teeth, we would advise you to only eat soft foods on the temporary teeth to avoid damage to the temporary teeth and placement of undue stress on the implants.
What is the guarantee on implants?
The brands used by us at Acharya Dental come with lifetime guarantees. If an implants fails, patients usually feel mild discomfort and a bad taste in the mouth. The implants are then retrieved under local anesthesia, and a new implant is placed. If the amount of bone available is less, the area is bone grafted and a new implant is placed in 4-6 months after there is sufficient volume of bone available.
How often do implant failures occur?
The failure rate of dental implants is about 3-5%. Due to this very low failure rate, dental implant companies offer a lifetime warranty on their products. We do not place dental implants on patients with uncontrolled blood pressure and uncontrolled diabetes. Heavy smokers show a higher incidence of dental implant failures (8-10% failure), so we advise patients to reduce or quit smoking all together to improve their oral health.
How do I care for my dental implants?
When fixed teeth are placed on implants, care and maintenance remains the same as natural teeth. This involved brushing with a tooth brush and tooth paste twice a day, and regular dental flossing. In case the implants are used to better retain a denture, then the denture is removed from the mouth and the implant attachments are gently cleaned with a tooth brush and tooth paste. The denture is cleaned outside the mouth using a different tooth brush and hand soap. Denture cleaning tablets can also be used once a week.
How often do I need to get a check-up after my treatment is complete?
Patients with implants require the same level of care and maintenance as patients without implants. All patients are advised a 6 month check-up and cleaning appointment to ensure optimal oral health.
1.Den Hartog, L., et al., Treatment outcome of immediate, early and conventional single‐tooth implants in the aesthetic zone: a systematic review to survival, bone level, soft‐tissue, aesthetics and patient satisfaction. Journal of clinical periodontology, 2008. 35(12): p. 1073-1086. URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-051X.2008.01330.x/abstract
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