A dental implant is an artificial tooth that can replace a missing tooth or a tooth that must be removed. The implant itself is a screw set by the dentist in the patient’s jawbone. New bone tissue forms on top of the screw, and once the screw has been ossified, the dentist attaches the crown, in other words the visible artificial tooth. Implants are also often used to secure prostheses.
Why should I choose a dental implant?
Dentists usually recommend filling in any empty spots in the mouth with a dental implant. The molars, in particular, are important for correct occlusion. One missing molar means two missing teeth in the occlusion. The other teeth may start leaning into the empty spot, and the tooth opposite the spot may start elongating.
Dental implants are usually very durable. Take good care of your teeth and your dental implant can last a lifetime. Dental implants cannot develop cavities but gingivitis is possible.
For whom are dental implants designed?
Dental implants can be worn by anyone who is missing one or more teeth but generally takes care of their oral health and hygiene. If there are other dental or oral issues besides a missing tooth, the other issues must be tended to first and the teeth must be properly cleaned. Smoking may also pose an obstacle as smokers are more likely to develop oral inflammation.
The patient must also commit to a follow-up process. We recommend check-ups about once a year.
Progress of the treatment path
First, the dentist checks the teeth and the occlusion and treats any issues. Once the mouth is healthy and the customer is able to personally tend to their oral and dental health, the customer can book an appointment for the planning and fitting of a dental implant.
First, the dentist sets the implant screw into the patient’s jawbone. The screw extends to the gumline or slightly below it. New bone tissue grows onto the surface of the screw, and it should take about 3–6 months for the screw to sufficiently ossify. The screw can be brushed like any tooth.
Once the screw is ossified, the dentist prepares a dental impression to enable the dental technician to produce an individual crown which the dentist sets in the customer’s mouth. The dental technician always individually adjusts the crown to the correct size, shape and colour. Crowns are usually made of porcelain. 3D design can be used in dental implant treatment with computed tomography and scanned dental models.
The shortest dental implant treatment takes about four months. The formation of bone onto the implant takes three months or more, after which the planning and setting of the crown takes a couple of appointments. The patient usually has one follow-up appointment a year. If the mouth needs more treatment before a permanent crown, the dentist may prepare a temporary dental prosthesis. Soft tissue and bone tissue are also often manipulated in implant treatment to ensure the best possible results. This calls for particularly thoroughly planned treatment and takes more time.
The specialist for the article was dental specialist and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Olli Teronen.