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What to do about missing teeth (loss of teeth)

Nowadays teeth can be fixed fast again in the jawbone, regardless of how they have been lost – whether it was due to periodontitis, or serious caries. Missing teeth lead not only to aesthetic losses, but also to a diminished ability to chew. If a fixed replacement tooth is desired nowadays we no longer need to grind healthy teeth as is needed for a dental bridge. Thanks to dental implants this is now avoidable.

Tooth implantation – only in a healthy mouth
Tooth implants (implants) are artificial tooth roots, most of them are shaped like screws or cylinders. Implants are implanted in the jawbone to replace missing dental roots. Implantology has been recognised as a safe form of treatment since 1982. There are various implant systems. To the patient the differences between the systems available on the market are meaningless. All of them are well-matured after decades of competition. Scientific studies have, over the last 25 years, confirmed a very high success rate with implants. After successful healing, over 90% of implants are still functioning after 10 years. The indications for dental implants are:
  • Individual missing teeth
  • Toothless jaws
  • Some remaining teeth

Contraindications for implant treatment are any kind of infection in the mouth such as periodontitis, caries, or pulp gangrene.
Risks with implantation include loss of the implant, injury to nearby teeth, injury to nearby nerves and bone infection.

Do the teeth on implants need to be cleaned?
Teeth on implants need to be better cleaned than natural ones. The area where the implanted tooth sticks out through the gums must be kept free of inflammation as otherwise there is a threat of an inflamed implant and thereby loss of the implant.

Can I tolerate dental implants?
Implantation has become an established part of dental surgery. Despite enormous developments some patients are still unsure because they have read or heard about “intolerance” to titanium implants. In specialist literature no intolerant reactions to titanium have been described even if in some patients there is loss of implants.

What causes loss of implants?

  • Insufficient cooling when abrading the implant socket in the jawbone (Dentist error)
  • Inserting the artificial dental root in an already inflammed jawbone (Dentist error)
  • Too early heavy load on the artificial root (dentist or patient error)
  • Poor follow up care and nicotine abuse make these negative factors worse (patient error)

What happens if an implant doesn’t heal?
If an implant doesn’t heal and needs to be removed later this is disappointing but it rarely happens. Nor does it lead to any serious physical problems since the resulting bone cavity will be filled in by new bone growth. Usually a new implant is possible, if desired.

Can you fly with implants?
A lot of people believe that due to the titanium implants they can no longer pass through a metal detector. Firstly, no alarm presently in use will be set off because of titanium in the body but even if such machines do come on to the market you can easily explain the alarm with your Implantpass.

Are dental implants the solution to my dental problems?
A lot of people believe that a dentition which for decades has been heading in one direction (towards complete replacement) can be saved with implants, maybe under general anaesthetic. The most important thing with a total repair is the change in the hold, which led to the damaged dentition in the first place. A change in your dentist is also advisable. If you didn’t tell your old dentist about the deterioration then you should also change your behaviour as otherwise your implants will only make you happy for a short time!

I would like fixed replacement teeth. How many implants do I need?
With toothless jaws 4 implants are enough in the lower jaw and 6 in the upper jaw as a rule in order to provide a fast hold for false teeth.

How long do implants hold?
Scientific studies over the last 25 years confirm a very high success rate for implants. How long implants can hold cannot be precisely forecast at present. After successful healing more than 90% of implants are still working.

Is there one good implant system or are they all good?
We can generally say that the systems available on the market display hardly any differences when it comes to healing of the bone. It’s true that implant manufacturers often advertise unusual surfaces which achieve even quicker healing of the bone but in practice and in studies these differences couldn’t be proved conclusively. Depending on the quality of the bone implants need up to 3 months to heal and with bone-building operations somewhat longer.

There are differences in quality when it comes to the development of implant crowns. The dental crown isn’t fastened directly to the implant but to an intermediate piece called an abutment. The abutment is usually pushed on to and screwed into the implant. This joint may show weaknesses and some companies prefer a cone connection cone connection not a push fit – rightly so as it seems today.