The idea of dental implants Clapham can set off some unpleasant feelings in the most stalwart of patients. It is certainly one of the most invasive procedures performed in dental clinics. It’s only in the last decade or so that it has become commonplace outside of operating theatres and has gone from the realm of maxillofacial surgeons to dental clinicians.
How are treatments performed?
During the treatment a new artificial tooth is placed in the patient’s mouth. This requires an artificial root; these titanium components are placed in a vacant socket or a pre-prepared drilled hole in the jawbone. This involves making an incision in the gum and exposing the jawbone, fitting the implant and closing the gum tissues over the newly installed artificial root.
The surgery is performed under local anaesthesia, making the procedure painless. It can still be a disconcerting experience and may be very trying for patients with a history of dental anxiety. The addition of IV sedation and calmatives are commonly used in addition to standard anaesthesia.
New bone needs to be laid down between the jaw and the titanium implant. This is referred to as osseointegration; it is the very close association between biologically active, living bone tissue and titanium that makes it so useful in surgical pins and artificial hips. This can occur in 4 months, but may take longer depending on the general health of the patient. Only when this integration can be confirmed by X-ray is the implant loaded with its prosthetic tooth. From that point onwards, it will be able to handle the stress of everyday use without becoming dislodged, crooked or misaligned.
Getting the most from implantation and maximising results
Oral implants are most likely to fail during the integration stage and if an implant has not integrated 12 months after being placed, it is usually considered unsuccessful and removed. Increasing the chances of successful integration can be done with excellent surgical technique and pre-screening, where in-depth X-rays and CT scans are used, as well as the patient’s medical history and prescriptions taken into account.
Anything that reduces overall bone growth, like osteoporosis or certain types of chemotherapy, needs to be considered and worked around or temporarily stopped. But this has to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis as there are many factors considered.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
Dental aversions are serious and they often result in patients not engaging with treatment that would be appropriate for them, delaying and often exacerbating the underlying conditions. If you or a family member suffer from these kinds of fears, it’s important to find a clinician who is accepting of how significant they can be, but also will facilitate you to engage in treatment regardless. It’s not that invasive procedures like implantation aren’t intimidating, but for nervous patients, the very act of lying down in a dental chair and having unusual looking pieces of equipment in your mouth is anxiety provoking! But that doesn’t mean you should not engage in medical care that will improve your life and reduce long term discomfort.