Missing teeth can make you self-conscious about your smile. It can also throw your bite out of alignment, altering your facial shape. If you choose to replace missing teeth, your dentist may recommend artificial teeth that are attached in or near the jawbone with a dental implant. Technically, a dental implant is an artificial tooth root that’s placed into your jaw to hold a prosthetic tooth or bridge. However, when most people use the term “dental implants,” they’re talking about the combination of the implant and the prosthetic tooth. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost one or more teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason and who prefer not to wear dentures.
Types of dental implants
There are two types of dental implants:
Endosteal (in the bone)
Endosteal implants are the most common type of dental implant.
They usually resemble small screws. Endosteal implants are made from body-safe materials, such as titanium.
Endosteal implants are surgically inserted deep into the jawbone where they take the place of tooth roots. One implant can be used to anchor one or several teeth.
Subperiosteal (on the bone)
This type of implant is used when there’s not enough healthy jawbone available to support an endosteal implant.
Subperiosteal implants are inserted under the gum but aren’t drilled into the jawbone. They are placed above or on the bone, rather than in it.
Timeline and Recovery
Dental implant procedures require multiple steps over a period of around 3 to 9 months. You may need the help of several types of dental specialists, including a periodontist and oral surgeon, before treatment is complete.
Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?
You’re an ideal candidate for a dental implant if:
- You’re in good general and oral health.
- You have adequate bone in your jaw to support the implant.
- You have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease.
Dental implants are intimately connected with the soft tissues (i.e., gums) and underlying hard tissues (i.e., bone) in the mouth. Since periodontists have had three years of specialized training beyond dental school to make them experts on both soft and hard tissues, they have the ideal combination of experience and knowledge to make sure you get a dental implant solution that looks and feels like your own teeth.
Types of Dental Implant Procedures
Depending on your specific condition and the type of implant chosen, your periodontist will create a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs.
Here are some of the possible treatment plans depending on your situation:
- Single Tooth Dental Implants
- Multiple Tooth Dental Implants
- Full Mouth Dental Implants
- Sinus Augmentation
- Ridge Modification
Dental implant costs can vary based upon the number of teeth you’re replacing, as well as the extent of each procedure. The location of the dentist office may also play a role. Implants are meant to last for decades. For this reason, their sticker price is somewhat higher than other procedures that replace missing teeth, such as bridges or dentures. Unlike bridges and dentures, dental insurance doesn’t always cover the cost of dental implants.
Check with your plan’s provider to find out what you can expect in terms of coverage. In general, each implant will cost around 1.5lakh. This cost is for the implant only and doesn’t include the cost of the abutment or crown. Once the cost for the abutment and crown are added in, you may pay as much as 4.5lakh per tooth. Your dentist or dental specialist should give you an estimated or firm cost prior to beginning treatment. Some dental offices offer payment plans to make it easier.
If you have one or more missing teeth, a dental bridge can fill the gap with one or more artificial (false) teeth. A bridge is typically made of crowns on either side of the missing tooth or teeth supporting the poetic (false tooth) and is cemented in place. Dental bridges are another alternative to implants.
A bridge is a false tooth or teeth that’s anchored in place by the teeth on either side of the gap. These healthy teeth are typically drilled down so that a crown can be placed on top of them. Bridges don’t require drilling into the jawbone. They’re less expensive than implants and are typically covered by dental insurance. They might need to be replaced due to decay or broken or fractured porcelain, but many can last a very long time.
Who needs a dental bridge?
Dental bridges can help if you have a missing tooth or teeth. The most common causes of missing teeth are tooth decay, gum disease and injury. Or you may have been born with missing teeth due to a congenital condition. To get a dental bridge, you need healthy teeth on either side of the missing ones.
Types of dental bridges
The four main types of bridges are:
- Traditional fixed bridge
- Cantilever bridge
- Maryland dental bridge
- Implant supported bridge
Advantages of this procedure
A dental bridge can:
- Help your bite.
- Prevent remaining teeth from moving out of place.
- Restore your ability to chew and speak.
- Restore your smile.
risks or complications
If you care for your bridge properly, it can last many years without complications. The bridge may fail if the surrounding teeth decay or if the cement deteriorates. If the bridge comes loose and the supporting teeth are still healthy and intact, your provider may be able to re-attach it with new cement.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of your gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. It’s important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Good oral health habits, such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental check-ups, can help prevent and reverse gingivitis.
Types of gum infections
Gingivitis is usually caused by an overgrowth of dental plaque. In addition to improper dental hygiene, there can be many contributing factors, such as:
- certain medications, such as phenytoin, cyclosporine, calcium channel blockers, and oral or injectable birth control
- severe deficiencies of vitamin C
- hormonal changes
- heavy metals like nickel, which can be found in some jewellery
- exposure to bismuth
Healthy gums are firm and pale pink and fitted tightly around the teeth. Signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Dusky red or dark red gums
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Tender gums
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene that encourages plaque to form on teeth, causing inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues. Here’s how plaque can lead to gingivitis:
- Plaque forms on your teeth
- Plaque turns into tartar
- Gingiva becomes inflamed
Risk factors for gingivitis
The following are risk factors for gingivitis and periodontitis:
- smoking or chewing tobacco
- crooked teeth
- improper fit on dental appliances
- broken fillings
- genetic factors
- suppressed immunity, such as with HIV
When to see a dentist
It’s important to contact a dentist if you think you might have gum disease because it can still be reversed at early stages. Contact a dentist if you have any symptoms of gum disease. Early signs are usually gums that are red, swollen, and bleeding easily.