New Dental Implants: Now, Faster than Ever
It used to be that getting a dental implant was like having a baby: it took months of time, required a lot of work, and really, really hurt. Dental implants, which give the patient a very natural looking artificial tooth in place of a missing or removed natural one, have been a wonderful advance in oral healthcare over the past few decades, but there’s no denying that having one put in is something of an ordeal. Fortunately, new technologies have been springing up to make the implant a more patient-friendly dental option.
The most noticeable improvement offered by new dental implant technologies is that they allow the whole process to be completed in just one visit. Immediate dental implants, such as those developed by Sargon® Dental Implants and Nobel Biocare, are constructed to seat themselves in the bone right away without waiting for the bone to heal around them. Thus, the dentist can attach the crown to the titanium implant root on the day of insertion and bite loads may be applied to the replacement tooth almost immediately. Eliminating the months-long waiting period while osseointegration (the gradual fusion of bone to titanium) occurs has many obvious benefits for the patient, both functional and aesthetic. With the success rates for these treatments rising, dental patients can expect to see them become more widely available.
Another advance in dental implants comes in a smaller package; in fact, size is the whole point. Mini dental implants (MDIs), developed by Dr. Victor Sendax and IMTEC Corporation, have already become established as an aid to denture users. In a typical treatment, four to six mini implants, which are much smaller than their conventional forebears, are inserted into the gums in one brief visit. The patient’s existing dentures, if suitable, are then retrofitted with sockets that fit onto the heads of the implants. As with immediate load implants, the MDIs are ready to begin functioning the very same day of installation. The dentures are held firmly in place during use, but can still be removed for cleaning and replaced by the patient with ease. The results, with respect to both cosmetics and health, are almost always very pleasing.
In addition, mini implants are gaining acceptance as an alternative to traditional implants for single-tooth replacements and as supports for dental bridges. Evidence so far demonstrates that they are able to withstand the rigors of time and chewing to a very high standard. Since MDIs require less pain, less healing time, and especially less cost, they are bound to find broader applications as time goes by. That can only be good news for those in need of major tooth reconstruction. Now if only we could do the same for expecting mothers…
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