Dental implants are the best treatment to replace one or more missing teeth with good results in aesthetics and function of patients, according to specialists in maxillofacial surgery. They allow the replacement of teeth without the need for bulky prostheses that can worsen the quality of speech, without the need to grind down healthy teeth and ensuring that the prosthesis does not move out of place when speaking or chewing.
Traditional removable prostheses (those that can be taken off and put on), need to be bulky to have enough support on the patient’s gum or teeth to achieve stability and the connectors used are not very esthetic. Dental implants, being attached to the bone, do not need support in other structures of the mouth. This results in most patients preferring implant-supported prostheses.
Placement of dental implants: is it a painful process?
The placement of dental implants is painless. In general, the removal of a tooth is less pleasant than the placement of a dental implant. The only procedure that can be uncomfortable is the infiltration of local anesthesia, which is no different from that applied when other procedures such as tooth extractions are to be performed. There is usually no pain in the days following the placement of dental implants if the recommendations and care explained after the procedure are followed.
Rejection of dental implants
Titanium, the material from which most dental implants are made, is a biocompatible metal, so it does not normally cause allergies or rejection. The surface of dental implants allows the bone to bond to it (a process called osseointegration) and it is very difficult to separate the bone from the implant after eight weeks of intimate contact.
Osseointegration occurs correctly in 97-99% of dental implants that are placed. The fact that an implant has not osseointegrated does not prevent the repositioning of another dental implant in the same position or in another region of the oral cavity.
Recommended age for dental implants
As a general rule, dental implants can be placed once growth has been completed, at around 18 years of age, and there is no advanced age limit for their placement.
The placement of dental implants is a very safe and predictable procedure. The reason why it is not placed in patients with a growing maxilla and mandible is related to the difficulty in determining the final position in which the implant will be placed once growth is complete.
Teeth have the capacity to move during growth, but dental implants do not. In children with missing teeth it is advisable to use other types of prosthesis until their bones have finished growing and the implant can be placed in its final position.