In recent years, dental implants have become increasingly popular as a solution for missing or damaged teeth due to several reasons: their durability and functionality, natural appearance, as well as the fact that they are a permanent solution that does not require frequent maintenance. Advancements in implant technology have also made the procedure more accessible and affordable for a wider range of patients, which is a huge plus! Furthermore, there are now two main types of dental implants in Singapore:
- Endosteal implants
- Subperiosteal implants.
Read this article to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of implant. We will also provide an overview of the dental implant procedure, including what to expect and whether it is a painful process.
Endosteal implants defined
Endosteal implants are the popular common type of dental implants used today. These implants are surgically placed directly into the jawbone, providing a sturdy foundation for artificial teeth to be attached. Endosteal implants are made from titanium, a material known for its extreme durability.
The process of getting an endosteal implant typically involves multiple stages. Initially, a small incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the underlying jawbone. Then, a hole is drilled into the bone, where the implant is carefully placed. Over time, the implant fuses with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration. Once this fusion is complete, an abutment is attached to the implant, which serves as a connector for the artificial tooth or teeth.
Subperiosteal implants defined
An alternative option for individuals who do not have enough healthy jawbone to qualify getting endosteal implants is subperiosteal implants. Subperiosteal implants are placed under the gum tissue, but above the jawbone, a process totally the opposite of endosteal implants, which requires the implant to be inserted into the jawbone.
A metal framework is custom-made to fit the shape of the patient’s jawbone and is then positioned beneath the gums. Over time, the gums heal around the framework, securing it in place. Once the healing process is complete, artificial teeth are attached to the metal framework.
Advantages and disadvantages of endosteal implants
Endosteal implants offer several advantages over other tooth replacement options. Since they are implanted directly into the jawbone, they provide a sturdy foundation for artificial teeth, allowing for a natural-looking and functional smile. Moreover, endosteal implants have a high success rate and can last a lifetime with proper care.
However, the process of getting endosteal implants is more complex and time-consuming compared to other options. It requires multiple visits to the dentist and a healing period of several months for the implant to fuse with the jawbone. Endosteal implants may also not be suitable for individuals with insufficient bone density or certain medical conditions.
Advantages and disadvantages of subperiosteal implants
Subperiosteal implants offer a solution for individuals with inadequate jawbone structure. Since these implants do not require drilling into the jawbone, they can be a viable option for those who are not candidates for endosteal implants. Subperiosteal implants also have a shorter treatment time compared to endosteal implants, as they do not require a lengthy osseointegration process.
The problem is that subperiosteal implants are not as widely available as endosteal implants, and they may not provide the same level of stability and durability. Additionally, the cost of subperiosteal implants can be higher than that of endosteal implants.
The dental implant procedure: what to expect
The dental implant procedure is typically performed in several stages over a period of several months. It begins with a consultation with a dental professional to determine the suitability of dental implants for the individual. X-rays and scans may be taken to assess the condition of the jawbone and plan the placement of the implants. Once the treatment plan is established, the actual implantation process can begin.
During the first stage of the procedure, the dental implant is surgically placed into the jawbone. Local anesthesia is used to ensure a comfortable experience for the patient. After the implant is inserted, the gum tissue is sutured back into place, and a temporary crown or denture may be placed to maintain aesthetics and functionality during the healing period. Over the next few months, the implant undergoes osseointegration, during which it fuses with the jawbone, providing a stable and secure foundation.
Once osseointegration is complete, the second stage of the procedure takes place. The implant is uncovered, and an abutment is attached to it. The abutment serves as a connector between the implant and the artificial tooth or teeth. Impressions are then taken to create a custom-made crown or denture, which will be attached to the abutment. Finally, the artificial teeth are securely placed, which ultimately restores the patient’s smile.
Is the dental implant procedure painful?
One of the most common concerns individuals have when considering dental implants is whether the procedure is painful. It is important to note that the dental implant procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia, which ensures that the patient experiences minimal discomfort. The dentist may also prescribe pain medication to manage any post-operative discomfort. However, it is normal to experience some soreness, swelling, and bruising in the days following the surgery. These symptoms can be alleviated with over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs. Most patients find that any discomfort subsides within a few days, and they can resume their normal activities shortly after the procedure.
Dental implant maintenance and long-term care
Once your dental implants have fully healed and integrated with the jawbone, it is vital to maintain proper oral hygiene and long-term care. To do this, you need to schedule regular check-ups with your dentist to monitor the health of your implants, surrounding teeth, and gums. Your dentist will also perform professional cleanings and address any issues promptly.
Practicing good oral hygiene is a bare-minimum requirement. You need to brush your teeth and implants twice a day, floss daily, and use an antimicrobial mouthwash to prevent plaque buildup, gum disease, and implant-related complications.
If you engage in sports or grind your teeth at night, you should use a mouthguard to protect your dental implants from potential damage. You should also avoid biting down on hard objects, such as ice or pens, as this can exert excessive force on the implants and potentially cause damage.
Lastly, you should aim to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, avoiding excessive sugar consumption, and managing stress, as these factors contribute to overall oral health and implant success.
Alternative options to dental implants
While dental implants offer numerous benefits, they may not be suitable for everyone.
Dental bridges are an alternative to dental implants for replacing one or more missing teeth. They involve the placement of artificial teeth, called pontics, that are supported by adjacent natural teeth or dental crowns.
Dentures are removable appliances that replace multiple missing teeth or a full arch of teeth. They can be either complete dentures, replacing all teeth, or partial dentures, replacing only a few missing teeth. Implant-supported dentures, on the other hand, are dentures that are secured in place by dental implants. They provide superior stability and eliminate the need for denture adhesives.
Last but not the least, resin-bonded bridges, also known as Maryland bridges, may be considered if you want a conservative option for replacing missing teeth, particularly in the front of the mouth. They involve bonding artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth using a metal or ceramic framework.
Dental Designs Clinic
(Telok Ayer) #01-01B 133 Cecil Street, Keck Seng Tower, S 069535
(Raffles Place) Level 3, 4 Robinson Road, The House of Eden, S 048543