Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made of ceramic or titanium which can replace lost or undeveloped teeth. Dental implants have been tried and tested for decades and are a recognized, safe, aesthetically pleasing and durable way of restoring chewing function. The materials are 100% biocompatible. Either individual teeth or all the teeth of the entire upper and/or lower jaw can be replaced using dental implants.
If sufficient bone mass is available, dental implants are anchored in the jawbone in a surgical procedure. It is usually possible to do this under local anaesthetic; if requested, it can also take place under sedation or a general anaesthetic. The suture material is usually removed seven to ten days after the operation.
In order to ensure stability and the long-term success of the implants, they must become firmly incorporated into the bone. This generally takes between three and four months, depending on each patient’s particular bone characteristics and the implant’s position. In the upper jaw, where the bone material is weaker, a longer recovery time is needed. Once the implant has become incorporated into the bone, another minor surgical procedure is required to expose it; the mucosa are remodelled during the same operation. About two weeks after exposure, the dentist can make the crowns and anchor them in subsequent steps.
In some cases the jaw does not have enough bone mass to directly place implants. To create a sufficient quantity of bone, a bone augmentation must be carried out. If this is necessary, it is generally performed three to six months prior to implantation. If you have opted for tooth replacement with the aid of dental implants, it may be the case that you will not receive your final implant-supported tooth replacement until a year later. In order to achieve an aesthetically satisfactory interim solution for you during the treatment period, a provisional tooth replacement will be made.
The placement of dental implants necessitates surgical training and experience. Moreover, dental implants are designed in line with the latest scientific findings and consist of high-quality materials. For this and other reasons, replacing teeth with implants is more expensive than conventional prostheses, which is why provision of dental implants is not regarded as a standard service and is thus not covered by statutory health insurers.
Assuming good oral hygiene, the average life of dental implants is currently over 20 years.
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