What is a dental implant?

One of the most requested treatments in our dental clinics is implants. It is common to see that people who need it wonder what the price of a dental implant is in Spain and if they will afford it. The cost varies depending on factors that we want to clarify in this article. Take note of all the details. 

Who does not know someone who has lost a tooth? Few people can say no, as missing teeth are one of the most common dental health problems

It is not uncommon to see people who think that nothing happens because they do not have a tooth, but nothing is further from reality. It can have more severe consequences than you imagine. 

There are multiple options to replace a lost piece. Although dental implants are the most recommended, let us tell you everything. 

A dental implant is a treatment that serves to replace a missing tooth. The implant is the metal piece that is inserted into the bone. For the body to accept it as its own, it must osseointegrate (join the bone), a process whose duration is reduced with the implants and techniques we use in the secret studios. 

The integration with the bone makes the implant last for many years and function as a tooth root. This is what is known as immediate loading.  

To perform this technique, the patient must have the bone. If you don’t have the implant, it will fail. Therefore, before placing the implant, a bone graft must be performed. Several causes lead to bone loss: periodontitis prolonged dental absence.

As the name implies, a dental implant is a device attached to the jawbone below the gum line and acts as a “root” for an artificial tooth or dental bridge of artificial teeth. 

Dental implants have become a common alternative to standard dentures as they can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple, or all teeth and are certainly a good choice.

Types of dental implants

endosseous implants

They are the most common in dentistry, since being made mainly of titanium, they are suitable for most patients. However, they require a sound, healthy jawbone (mandibular bone) for the post to fuse to the bone. Endosseous implants are made of titanium, a biocompatible material that does not usually cause rejection. These, in turn, can be of two types: 

  • Titanium implants are the most used because they are materials with the highest biocompatibility and the lowest rate of rejection. The percentage of problems is 2%. They usually are covered with hydroxyapatite, a substance that enhances the duration of dental implants. This is the material in which our implants are made. 
  • Zirconium/Zirconium Implants: This type of dental implant is typically used in patients who are allergic to titanium (it is estimated that 4% of patients suffer from this condition) and is made of a variety of ceramic. It is a very resistant material with high biocompatibility and is non-allergenic. Despite what it may seem, it is a material that withstands intense pressures. 

subperiosteal implants

They consist of placing a metal frame under the gum with a post attached. Instead of being affixed to the maxillary bone, subperiosteal implants rest on the bone but are still below the gum line. The gum then heals around the frame to hold it in place. The dentures are attached to the posts that come out of the gum. These implants are mainly used when it is impossible to use the conventional way or when endosseous implants cannot be used. It is a technique that has been left in the background due to endosseous implants. 

zygomatic implants

They are the least common type of dental implant. It is the most complicated procedure and should only be done if you do not have enough jawbone for the endosseous implant. The implant is placed in the patient’s cheekbone and not the maxilla. They can be used when the quality or quantity of maxillary bone is inadequate for the placement of standard dental implants. It is mainly performed on patients who have been without any teeth for many years. 

What is an immediate loading implant?

This type of dental implant allows the temporary placement of a temporary tooth, the same day as the implant placement. 

This could be your option if you have enough bone to support the placement and pressure of the temporary tooth. 

mini dental implants

Mini dental implants are smaller diameters than traditional implants have different designs and other functions. 

Its primary use is to create a permanent foundation for replacement teeth. They will never be restored with a crown or fixed hybrid prosthesis. 

All-on-Four or All-on-Six dental implant treatment

The All-on-Four or  All-on-Six implant technique is used as an alternative to placing a complete set of upper or lower replacement teeth. 

Four or six dental implants are placed in the available bone, eliminating the need for bone grafting. 

A temporary set of replacement teeth can be placed on the same day. 

The downside is that you have to follow a special diet while the tissue is healing and the implants fuse with the bone. 

What are the parts of an implant?

As we have already superficially advanced, the implant is only the metallic element, although it usually refers to the entire implant and crown assembly. Also, they have two parts. Let’s explain all: 

  • The body of the dental implant: It is the metal part of the implant that is inserted into the jawbone below the gum line. It looks like a screw. It will act as a root and anchor the other parts of the prosthesis. 
  •  The abutment:  it is located just above the gum line. It is the piece that, after the osseointegration process (fusion), is screwed to the body of the implant and will eventually support the crown. 
  • The crown is the visible artificial part of the implant since it is anchored on the implant body with the help of the abutment, resulting in a perfect imitation of the natural tooth.

What is the implant placement process, and how long does it take in total?

The implant placement process is not quick but requires external attention and is carried out in several sessions. 

At my secret, the procedure is performed painlessly, under local anesthesia by doctors specialized in implantology in a modern clinic with cutting-edge technology. 

The implant placement procedure is concise: around 20 minutes to place one implant and 120 minutes maximum when placing more implants

After surgery, the implants need to go through a healing period that lasts 4 to 6 months for the upper jaw and 2 to 3 months for the lower jaw to adhere to the bone fully. 

During that time, the implants are not visible in the oral cavity, located in the bone, under the gum. 

It is possible to establish a temporary solution during the healing period of the implant so that the patient does not notice the missing tooth. 

The entire procedure, including implant surgery, healing period, dental impression, and placement of the permanent prosthetic piece, takes 6-8 months for the upper jaw and 4-6 months for the lower jaw. 

The duration of the operation to place an implant is different depending on the technique used. We reduce the time remarkably. Each case is planned digitally, simulating the surgery in 3D. This allows you to analyze the anatomical figures and see the best place to place the implant. This allows a surgical guide to be made that indicates the exact location where the implant needs to be placed. This shortens the intervention time considerably. 

The guided surgery we use in our dental clinics also improves the postoperative period. Not having to make incisions and lift the gum reduces discomfort after surgery. The osseointegration process is the same. Generally, it takes between four and six months in the upper arch and the lower angle between two and three months. 

What are the stages of a dental implant? What tests are done before an implant?

  • The first visit with the patient is one of the most important since it is verified if the patient needs an implant or if another alternative has to be found. If positive, a  comprehensive dental examination includes an X-ray, a  CAT or DIGITAL SCAN, and photos

At the same time, it is necessary to know the quality and quantity of the bone, and according to the needs of each patient, the size of the implant is chosen. The plan, the treatment steps, the time, and advice on the recovery period are indicated. 

In addition, the occlusion of the mouth (how you bite down) needs to be assessed to ensure that the implant site will not receive more than adequate pressure. 

In case of gum infection, these problems are solved first (antibiotics, dental cleaning) and then implant placement. 

  • Moving on to a second visit, if bone grafting is needed, it may take 4-12 months before implant placement. This time allows the bone to heal properly for the next phase. 

In case of not needing bone, surgery is performed that may or may not have conscious or local sedation depending on each patient, and the incision is made in the area where the dental implant is placed. 

It is sutured, and the specialist will tell you everything you need to recover. 

Remember that you may notice pain in the implant area after this phase, local swelling of the gums and face, or minor bleeding, which is entirely normal. 

  • After 7-10 days, you will have the next appointment to verify the surgery and remove the stitches
  • At 4-6 months, local X-rays are taken to verify if the implants have been correctly integrated into the bone, the closure cap is removed and replaced by the healing abutment. This ensures that the soft tissues form correctly. 
  • The impressions are taken and sent to the laboratory at the next appointment. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology, digital images will be handled with an intraoral scanner specially designed for these and orthodontic cases. 
  • Finally, at the last appointment, the crown is placed, and you will leave our Studio with a complete dental implant and a complete smile. 
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By Michael Caine

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