Your front teeth are critical for a beautiful smile, so losing one or more can be quite troubling for anyone. Today, many people look into dental implants to replace missing teeth, improve their smile, or as an alternative to unstable dentures. Like any other surgery, implants have risks. But the benefits of preserving bone tissue and not having to cut down adjacent teeth make dental implants the first option for people with missing teeth.
Source: Gebruder Betz
Dental implants are generally safe, and the risk of getting sick from them is low. However, like any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications that can arise from dental implant placement.
One possible complication is an infection, which can occur if bacteria enter the surgical site during the procedure or after the implant has been placed. Infection can lead to implant failure and, in rare cases, can spread to other parts of the body and cause systemic illness.
Another possible complication is an allergic reaction to the implant material, although this is rare. Some people may also experience nerve damage or damage to surrounding teeth during the implant placement process.
Overall, dental implants have a high success rate and are considered safe for most people. In fact, over the last 20 years, 98 percent of dental implant procedures have been successful.
It is important to discuss any concerns or questions with your dentist or oral surgeon before undergoing the procedure. Proper aftercare, including good oral hygiene practices and regular dental checkups, can also help prevent complications and ensure a successful outcome.
Why is it difficult to create implants at the front of the mouth?
Dental implant placement is generally not a traumatic process, with people differing in their response to the process, as they do to any other surgical procedure.
However, installing front implants is much harder and more expensive than posterior implants. That’s because the bone in the front of your mouth is usually thinner and less dense than in other parts of the mouth. Your dentist may recommend orthodontics and grafting for your custom treatment plan if a tooth has been absent for a long time, or if a tooth never formed in a spot.
Your oral surgeon will discuss with you the risks of replacing front teeth with dental implants. Generally, the upper front jaw bone (maxilla) tends to be at risk of rapid deterioration in the event that a tooth is removed incorrectly.
Other risks are associated with failure to preserve a tooth socket with grafting, or improper implant placement that results in loss of bone tissue, necessitating more surgery and a repeat of the implant placement procedure.
Fortunately, these problems can be avoided by consulting a licensed and reputable oral surgeon.
Lower Front Tooth Implants Timeline
Indeed, having an implant placed at the front of the mouth takes special attention. The treatment journey may take anything from 4 to 12 months or longer for the treatment to be complete, depending on:
- Your oral health
- Any necessary pre-treatment surgeries, and
- How well you care for your implant after surgery
Here’s what you can expect:
Step 1: One-day initial consultation
Before getting the implant done, it is important that see a dentist who is willing to educate you about the available options. Your doctor will decide whether you are a good candidate for implants during your initial visit. He’ll make sure your mouth is healthy enough for an implant with a thorough oral checkup. The dentist will then take impressions of your teeth and create a surgical guide for your oral surgeon to ensure that your implant is placed properly when you decide to replace your missing tooth with an implant.
You will then schedule a second appointment for the actual implant placement, which is typically in 1-2 weeks after the initial appointment.
In case your mouth is not healthy enough for an implant to be successfully placed, your dentist may recommend additional treatment to prepare the bone tissue before the actual procedure.
Optional 3-12 months (preparation of your mouth for implant placement)
Pre-treatment procedures such as a bone grafting to rebuild your jaw bone, a tooth extraction to make way for an implant restoration, or bone smoothing (alveoloplasty) to prepare for an implant may be required in some circumstances. It could take anywhere from 3 to 12 months to fully recover from these treatments, depending on your situation and oral health.
Step 2: Implant placement appointment: 1-2 weeks later
Your oral surgeon will insert the implant straight into your gum and jaw bone using your customized treatment plan. Each implant placement procedure normally takes about 1-2 hours. You’ll be sent home after the area has been cleansed and sewn shut to aid healing. Most dentists will wait about three months after this stage is completed before doing the final restoration of the tooth replacement.
Step 3: Recovery & Healing – 3-6 Months or More
The initial healing process takes about 1-2 weeks. Your implant, however, must integrate with your jaw bone through a process known as osseointegration. This refers to the titanium implant permanently binding to the bone and becoming a part of your mouth. Depending on your situation, this process may take 3-6 months or longer.
Step 4: Get a temporary crown during recovery and design the permanent crown
The implant will take about 3 months or more to fully integrate with the bone. During this time, your dentist may place a temporary crown done to cover up the gap and restore the aesthetic of your smile as the surgery wound heals. This is a necessary step for front teeth replacement to maintain a beautiful smile.
At the same, the dentist will be building your permanent custom crown that will be permanently attached to the implant when it’s fully healed. So during the recovery process, you’ll have a few follow-up appointments with your dentist to take impressions and photos of your gums, teeth, and implant as your mouth recovers. This information is used to create your custom dental crown for a complete tooth replacement procedure.
Step 5. Placement of Your Abutment – 1-2 Weeks
You’ll need an abutment installed a week or two before your final visit. Your permanent implant restoration will be attached to the abutment. Fold back the gum tissue from your appointment, place an abutment, and cover the abutment with a healing collar or temporary tooth to prevent the gums from healing around it.
Step 6. Finishing Your Implant Restoration in One Day
You’ll have your final appointment about 1-2 weeks after your abutment has been installed (about 3 months from implant placement). Your doctor will take out your healing collar or temporary tooth and assess the fit of your permanent implant-supported restoration. He will then permanently bind it into place, completing the surgery.
Screw-retained Vs. cement retained Crown for dental implants
When considering tooth replacement using dental implants, you should discuss with your dentist about the options for crown placement. Most tooth replacement involve a screw retained crown, though a cement retained crown may also be provided.
Screw retained implants are the preferred option because they don’t leave any margins. The screw hole can also be easily accessed to tighten the implant if need be, plus you can choose to change the color of your replacement tooth.
Cement retained implants, on the other hand, often require the crown to fit flush, which is challenging and can create gaps at the joint. In the unfortunate event that the abutment loosens, you would be required to drill through the crown to reach the screw hole.
The use of cement on crowns was actually introduced to overcome the challenge of screws loosening too frequently, but the cement that was left behind led to gum boils, causing dentists to revert to the use of screws.
That said, there are instances when it is not possible to screw in the abutment and crown because of factors such as anatomy, angulation, or financing (requires extensive preparation in bone grafting), leaving you with a cement-on-crown as the only option.
Creating implants at the front of the mouth requires planning and attention to detail; a process commonly referred to as retrievable dentistry. Both options – screw-retained and cement-on-crown – pose certain risks, so you should consult an experienced prosthodontist or dentist about it.
Risks of dental implants
Perhaps the biggest danger of dental implants is the long recovery time. Surgical wounds in the mouth take a long time to heal, and proper oral hygiene is essential to reduce the risk of infection that may delay recovery time. While dental implants are very safe and are unlikely to make you sick, your oral surgeon will discuss with you the risks involved with the surgical procedure. These include:
- Injury and damage to blood vessels, adjacent teeth, and surrounding tissue
- Injury to surrounding nerves causing prolonged pain, tingling, and numbness
- Improper placement of implant posts in the top jaw, which may puncture the sinus cavity
- Bacterial infection during surgery and the long healing time
That said, choosing a reputable and experienced implant dentist can significantly reduce the likelihood of suffering negative side effects of dental implant surgery. Through regular checkups, any dangers can be identified in the earliest stages and corrected in time to prevent any negative effects.