Dental implants

For many decades, dental implants have been a tried-and-tested treatment method for replacing missing teeth that patients want.

What are dental implants? A definition

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is “implanted” into the jawbone in place of a lost or removed tooth root. This implant is usually made of titanium, more rarely of ceramic, and usually has the shape of a screw.

The implant is inserted in an operation under partial or general anesthesia. If the bone substance is not sufficient to anchor the implant stably, there is the option of bone augmentation. A crown, i.e. an artificial tooth, is placed on the implant.

Implantate können für einzelne Zähne, aber auch für ganze Zahnreihen angefertigt werden. As soon as implants are firmly fused to the bone, they form a good and long-term stable foundation for artificial teeth.

What dental implants are available?

There are one-piece and two-piece implants. One-piece implants are often ceramic implants and carry more risks. The indication for one-piece implants is limited to a few special situations (small tooth gaps). Two-part implants consist of a base that is anchored in the jawbone and a post – the so-called abutment – that protrudes from this anchor and to which the crown – the artificial tooth – is later attached. The advantage of the two-part implant is that it heals closed and covered with mucous membrane. On the other hand, it has the disadvantage that bacteria can penetrate between the abutment and implant, which can lead to peri-implantitis.

Most dental implants today are made of titanium. Titanium is biologically neutral and non-allergenic.

Ceramic implants made of zirconium oxide are more expensive than titanium implants, are pure white and therefore more aesthetically pleasing. Above all, however, the zirconium oxide has an antibacterial effect and thus prevents the colonization of bacteria, making the outbreak of peri-implantitis more difficult.

Advantages of dental implants

In principle, dental implants today are a very durable and aesthetically pleasing form of tooth replacement. Disruptive clasps, which not only look unattractive but can also damage neighboring teeth, are no longer necessary, as is the grinding down of previously healthy neighboring teeth. Implants are very resilient, so that lost quality of life can be restored even after the loss of teeth.

An implant with subsequent bone augmentation also stabilizes the atrophied jaw (bone loss) in the long term. In short: if the prerequisites for a dental implant are met, there is a lot to be said for an implant today.

Risks of dental implants

But even modern dental implants placed by well-trained specialists can cause problems.

  • As with all surgical procedures, complications can occur in exceptional situations during the operation. Above all, tooth roots or neighboring teeth may be injured. This applies all the more if the anatomical conditions were not sufficiently clarified in advance, i.e. too little emphasis was placed on a thorough preliminary examination.
  • However, depending on the patient’s physical condition (diabetics, smokers) and oral hygiene, inflammatory reactions and even peri-implantitis or even loss of the implant can occur later on.

In any case, there are three things that implant patients must bear in mind:

  1. Before deciding on an implant, inform yourself thoroughly about possible risks and the individual initial conditions (e.g. bone availability).
  2. Find an experienced specialist to insert the implant.
  3. After inserting an implant, follow the rules for optimal oral hygiene and implant care specified by your dentist

What to do if a dental implant breaks?

Ceramic implants can break because the jawbone, especially the lower jaw, is flexible and this can cause ceramic implants to break.