What are implants?
Implants are small screws that are embedded into the jaw bone and can take over the function of natural dental roots. Implants consist of titanium, a metal that is not recognized as foreign tissue and is therefore not rejected by the body.
Why do we need implants?
The maxillofacial surgeon can replace one or more teeth safely with durable implants, without the grinding of healthy neighboring teeth. Implants can be used to replace a whole set of lost teeth, without disturbing prosthesis materials such as acrylic saddles or metal brackets. Older patients that have used a full prosthesis for many years often complain of an insecure hold of the prosthesis, which results in movement during eating and talking. The placement of just two or four small implants can secure the prosthesis.
How does implant therapy work?
After the loss of a tooth, the jaw bone needs about 6–8 weeks to heal. Before implants are fitted, the ideal height and position can be determined by X-ray imaging and planned by modelling. In the case of limited jaw bone, a special 3 D investigation must be performed. Implants can easily be fitted during a short surgical procedure under local anesthetic. The wound can be closed either by stitching or by special healing caps on the implant. Most patients experience limited pain following the operation. As a general rule, the implant needs three months to heal completely before it can receive load. Depending on the quality of the jaw bone, an earlier loading of the implant might be possible. After three months, the implant will receive a crown or prosthesis.
Which complications can occur?
Complications rarely occur following implantation by a competent maxillofacial surgeon. Patients who smoke a lot or who have received radiation therapy in the head and neck area are at a higher risk of poor healing, leading to loss of the implant. During the planning procedure, we will discuss your individual risks and which measures will be taken to avoid complications.
How should the implant be maintained to ensure that it lasts as long as possible?
The most important factor is optimal oral hygiene. Prior to treatment, we guide you through an oral hygiene routine by which you can best care for your teeth. Following the implant treatment, we recommend a clinical check-up twice a year, with professional teeth cleaning.