Dental Implants: Present and Future of Dentistry

Dental implants are currently the best and most advanced technique for the replacement of teeth lost for any reason. They have innumerable advantages over other alternatives, among which are fixed prostheses of various types of ceramics (bridges) and removable prostheses of different materials. In this sense, it is the option that most closely resembles a natural tooth, the implant being equivalent to the root of the tooth, and a crown is subsequently attached, screwed or cemented to the implant.

Unlike what one might think at first, being a surgical technique, the implant is the least aggressive and therefore the most conservative way to replace missing teeth, since the technique is limited to the existing gap, without the need to carve the adjacent pieces to be used as abutments (fixed bridges), or to attach retainers to these pieces to stabilize and hold uncomfortable removable prostheses, with the consequent wear of the same.

What types of dental implants are there?

There are many types of implants adapted to the different anatomical, functional, chronological and esthetic needs of each patient. Thus, we have implants whose design, size and surface can be adapted to the different types of bone, extra short implants for bones with reduced measurements, implants prepared to support immediate loads and to be able to place the prosthesis in a short time, even on the same day. In fact, there are even implants to perform complex techniques when there is severe atrophy of the jawbone (Zygomatic implants). Thus, it could be said without fear of being wrong, that there is at least one implant suitable for each particular case, no matter how particular it may be.

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Once the implant is placed in the bone, it will initially be mechanically attached to it due to its self-tapping condition (primary retention). Subsequently, after the osseointegration period has elapsed, the dental specialist will consolidate this attachment by means of a biological implant-bone union, at which time the prosthesis will be placed.

What does the dental implant technique consist of?

As has already been mentioned, there are techniques and protocols that greatly reduce these times, and it is even possible to achieve a prosthesis at the same time as the surgery.

In this sense, computer-guided surgery techniques are available that allow, with millimetric precision, using radiological tools and appropriate computer programs, 3D planning and virtualization of surgical techniques to subsequently perform much more precise and safer surgeries, as well as being able to send parallel information to the prosthetic laboratory so that, using CAD-CAM techniques, they can develop prostheses that are available on the same day as the surgery.

An invaluable aid in the field of Implantology and oral surgery in general are the techniques of Guided Bone Regeneration and Mucogingival Surgery, which can be used in complex implantological surgeries to repair bone and soft tissue, greatly improving the final esthetic result. To perform these techniques, the patient’s own bone, treated animal bone or multiple inorganic synthetic preparations can be used. For soft-tissue surgery, autologous grafts, i.e., from the patient himself, or synthetic grafts are also used.

A major advance in this field is the use of plasma rich in growth factors (PRGF), obtained from the patient’s own blood through a centrifugation process. This organic product helps to improve the regeneration of biological tissues and accelerate healing in general.

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Finally, recent research in genetic engineering with stem cell cultures of dental origin, are aimed at opening the door in the near future to the implantation of dental germs in edentulous areas that will later replace the lost teeth. Until we can have this technology in our offices, Dental Implants are, without any doubt, the best way to replace lost or missing teeth.