07 April 2010
By Dr Kamlesh Kothari
As our life span increases, so does the need for permanent dental replacement
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are used to support natural looking teeth and enable patients who are missing some or all of their natural teeth to smile, speak with confidence, avoid socially embarrassing situations and chew their food more comfortably. Anyone who wants to replace missing teeth can benefit from implants as they provide many advantages over traditional dentures.
Benefits of a dental implant
- Improved comfort, speech, appearance, self–esteem
- Eat what you want
- Preserve jawbone
- Maintain healthy adjacent teeth
- Long–term results
Suppose you are missing a single front tooth. If a fixed bridge were to be used, your dentist would cut down the enamel of adjacent teeth and fit a three unit fixed bridge over those two teeth. If your dentist were to use an implant with a crown on it, he would place an implant in the site of the original missing tooth. He could do this immediately or at some date after the tooth was removed. After the healing period a tooth would be attached to the implant as it was your natural tooth. The healing period varies and the implantologist decides it best.
Dentures and removable bridges have obvious problems: they are loose and unstable. Implants can provide people with dental replacements that are both functional and aesthetic. The protocol that was originally developed states that we must wait three months in the lower jaw and six months in the upper jaw before we can begin to construct the new dental prosthesis that will be supported by the implants. In recent years, these implants now can be placed by a simple five–minute painless keyhole procedure to maximise patient comfort.
Implants are a well–established treatment. Ninety per cent of modern implants last for at least 15 years. You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants. It depends on the state of the bone in your jaw. Although dental implant treatment may initially be expensive than others, it often turns out to be the best investment from a long–term perspective.
Indigenisation of implants
Indian dentists with a flair for quality import these implants. An indigenisation of the implant manufacturing techniques with proper trials will bring down the cost of implants substantially. As with any dental treatment, patients must meet stringent criteria to have a good chance for success. Exceptional oral hygiene is necessity.
Advantage of keyhole dentistry
The advantage of the guided surgical technique is the minimal amount of manipulation of the soft tissue due to keyhole surgery. This reduces the healing time and discomfort associated with traditional implant surgical techniques.
Dr Kothari is a facial plastic surgeon and implantologist. He is the first Nobel biocare (Sweden) certified dental implantologist in eastern India. He has introduced the concept of keyhole dental implants in eastern India. He is the chief consultant at Aesthetica – Kolkata’s first dento facial medspa and implant cliniq