A dental implant is one of the treatments to replace missing teeth. These implants are now a popular choice among many patients and has become an integral treatment mode in dentistry. Dental implants have a number of advantages –
1. Improved maintenance of bone in edentulous site (area of the mount where the teeth is missing).
2. Decreased sensitivity of adjacent teeth.
3. They help you bring back your beautiful smile after losing your teeth.
4. They help in gaining and boosting your self-confidence.
Implant dentistry the second oldest dental profession; exodontia (oral surgery) is the oldest. Around 600 AD, the Mayan population used pieces of shells as implants to replace the lower set of teeth. In 1809, J. Maggiolo inserted a gold implant tube into a fresh extraction site. In 1930, the Strock brothers used Vitallium screws to replace missing teeth. A post-type endosseous implant was developed by Formiggini (the father of modern implantology) and Zepponi in the 1940s. In 1946 Strock designed a two-stage screw implant that was inserted without using a membrane. The abutment post and individual crown were added after this implant completely healed. Dental implants became a scientific cornerstone after the serendipitous invention of Dr. Branemark who helped in the evolution of the concept of osseointegration (direct, rigid attachment of the implant to the bone without any intervening tissue in between two implants)
While we have already seen a few advantages of implants, let’s further deep dive to see some of the reasons to choose dental implants –
Since the implants are titanium in nature, they can naturally fuse with the bone. They function, feel, and look like natural teeth making it very comfortable for you to eat, talk and most importantly smile naturally. This makes implants the most effective cosmetic dentistry option.
Implants are the most durable and in fact a permanent solution for missing teeth. They can last for a lifetime if you take good care of them. Implants are made of titanium are less prone to wear and tear. Also, as they are titanium in nature, they naturally fuse with the bone and the fusion guarantees strength and durability.
As the implants naturally fuse with the bone, they do not depend on the adjacent teeth for strength and support unlike other replacement options like bridges or partial dentures.
By fusing into the jaw bone directly implants prevent the bone from resorbing. Other options like bridges leave the jaw bone without support. This way the bone resorbs affecting your facial structure.
Regular brushing and flossing will keep your implant and teeth in good condition, where-as, dentures and bridges are options that can affect your normal oral hygiene routine, special creams and soaking for hours are necessary to maintain proper oral hygiene. This will leave you without teeth for some time which can affect your smile.
Implants can be categorized into various types depending upon the process, materials and biological responses.
Implants can be divided into three types depending upon the process –
1. Endosteal – Endosteal implants pierce only one cortical plate of maxilla and mandible. The most frequently used endosteal implant is root form implant.
2. Subperiosteal – The subperiosteal implant has an implant substructure and superstructure where custom cast frame is placed directly beneath the periosteum.
3. Transosteal – Transosteal implant crosses through both cortical plates.
Implants can be divided into three types depending on the material used –
They can further be divided into three types based on their biologic responses –
1. Biotorerant – surrounded by fibrous tissue, e.g., stainless steel.
2. Bioinert – direct rigid attachment, e.g., titanium and its alloys.
3. Bioactive – allows the formation of bone on their surface, e.g., hydroxyapatite.
The goal of modern dentistry is to restore the patient to normal profile, function, comfort, esthetics, speech, and health. Dental implants are increasingly used to replace single teeth, rather than removing sound tooth structure and crowning two or more teeth, increasing the risk of decay and other oral health issues. The current trend to expand the use of implant dentistry will continue until every restorative practice uses this mode for abutment support of both fixed and removable prostheses on a regular basis as the primary option for all tooth replacements.