The process by which an oral / dental implant incorporates into the bone is called "osseointegration '. This process was, by coincidence discovered in 1952, by Prof. Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark. In Belgium, oral implants were first used at the KU Leuven in the 80s.
An oral implant is similar to a screw, and is made of titanium, which is both light and strong. This is implanted into the jaw bone and will become integrated into the bone after a healing period. Today implants give the patient the option to replace lost teeth, by treatment options that not existed in the past. In the early days of implantology only completely toothless patients were treated with a number of implants and a fixed structure that was put onto the implants. Today the options have expanded, ranging from click prostheses to single tooth replacements. Also, as years gone by, gradually the protocols changed, so that the treatment possibilities now have greatly expanded.
Replacement of one or more teeth.
When one or more teeth are lost these can be replaced by & or more implants.
The implant will be placed in the jaw bone. This will replace the tooth root and further counteract bone loss. The need to damage neighboring teeth (for a conventional bridge) is thus avoided.
Support a prosthesis with implants.
Patients who are completely toothless and wearing a full (removable) prosthesis, often have as a complaint that the prosthesis is become loose when talking and eating. This is annoying, functionally and socially.
A possible solution for these patients is the "implant-supported overdenture". This involves, depending on the situation, 2/6 implants placed into the jawbone which will support a new prosthesis. The denture is firmly stable which enhances eating and talking. However, the prosthesis can still be removed, which facilitates the cleaning and oral hygiene procedures. In the upper jaw, this overdenture will reduce the need to cover the palate, which enhances the taste sensation. An important advantage is that this solution is also feasible in patients with little jaw bone, as such extensive surgical procedures can be avoided.
All teeth replaced by a fixed bridge on implants
Patients who are completely toothless can also opt for a completely solid solution with 4/8 implants (fixed bridge on implants), depending on the specific situation. Since this solution is not removable, this has the most similarity to natural teeth. Discussion with the surgeon and dentist, however, is a necessity, because a lot of planning precedes.
The animation below gives a schematic representation of how an implant is placed.
Your specific situation
Your particular situation is, of course, different for each individual and, consequently, should be assessed in this way. Overall, implant treatments are devided in several steps:
- Initial investigation: During this consultation your specific situation is analysed. Your general medical history (eg. smoking, osteoporosis and use of medication) is discussed. The implant treatment is framed within a complete treatment plan. Since the amount of jaw bone is of course an important factor, a 3-D radiographic image will be made. Planning will be made on computer images, giving the patient the change to see the whole treatement plan. Such a Cone Beam CT scan is nowadays an indispensable step in the implant treatment. The treatment plan is then discussed with the dentist.
- The implant surgery: this surgery is almost always performed under local anesthesia. Depending on the complexity of the treatment, the patient will subsequently suffer some post-op discomfort, the days after surgery (swelling, bruising, ...) which is counteracted as much as possible by means of medication.
- The integration period: the first week after surgery, you should not wear a prosthesis in order to promote the healing process and not to unnecessarily burden the implants. About 1 week after surgery this prosthesis is adjusted and you can wear again. A typical integration period is 12 weeks, but depends on your specific situation and complexity. It can be assumed that as the complexity increases, alsp the healing time increases.
- Prosthetic finish: After the healing period and when the implants are integrated, the dentist can start the prosthetic phase.
- Lifetime Aftercare: implants are 'new teeth' and earn lifetime monitoring and proper maintenance.
Treatments are complicated by:
- use of certain medications (including bisphosphonates, anticoagulantia, ...). Please brief the surgeon on your medication.
- limited amounts of jaw bone, making reconstruction of the lost jaw bone necessary. This often occurs in patients who have lost their teeth for longer periods or encountered severe infections around the teeth. Also these treatments can usually be carried out under local anesthetic and will be described in detail by the surgeon (eg. sinus lifting, transplantation of bone, transplant of connective tissue or gum, ...).
- L-PRF treatments: in order to reduce the amount of biomaterials and use as much as possible 'patient's own "material during a surgical operation, ParoPlus has the ability in both practices to perform L-PRF treatments. Hereby blood (obtained after a normal blood collection), is centrifuged and subsequently used during the operation. In this way, the healing capacity is being promoted and the amount of 'synthetic material' is minimalised.