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Dental implants: why and when you should get them

The dental procedure is beneficial for those with missing teeth as it helps prevent bone loss and bolsters the ability to chew

Dental implants effectively replicate the function and appearance of natural teeth(Pexels/Karolina Grabowska)

By Dr. Karishma Jaradi

LAST PUBLISHED 04.01.2024  |  08:00 AM IST

Dental implants serve as a revolutionary solution for individuals grappling with missing teeth. The revolutionary aspect lies in how implants effectively replicate the function and appearance of natural teeth. Typically crafted from titanium, implants are surgically inserted into the jawbone. These implants act as anchors for tailor-made artificial teeth, known as crowns, designed to fit the individual’s mouth. 

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They play a pivotal role in preventing bone loss that often accompanies tooth loss. When a tooth is absent, the neighboring jawbone may deteriorate due to decreased stress, leading to bone resorption. Dental implants effectively mitigate this risk, helping to preserve bone structure. They also enhance dental stability, augment one’s smile, and bolster chewing functionality.

Individuals with missing teeth or those on the verge of losing teeth might find dental implants beneficial. Implants can also be considered for various reasons such as tooth decay, injury, gum disease, or congenital issues. Essentially, anyone looking for a long-lasting solution to replace missing teeth and wishing to restore their smile and chewing ability can reap the benefits of dental implants.

The optimal timing for dental implants is dependent on several factors. Generally, it’s advised once the jawbone has fully matured, usually in late adolescence or adulthood. However, before proceeding with implants, it’s vital to ensure good oral health, including healthy gums and sufficient jawbone structure to support the implant. Moreover, if a tooth extraction is necessary, adequate healing time for the extraction site is crucial before implant placement. Sometimes, ongoing medical treatments or conditions may affect the decision or timing for implants.

Before opting for dental implants, several considerations are paramount. Firstly, an assessment of overall health status is necessary as conditions like diabetes or ongoing medical treatments may influence the success of implants. Secondly, good oral health should be ensured, addressing any gum disease or dental issues beforehand. It’s crucial to consult a dental professional to comprehend the procedure, risks, and anticipated outcomes. An evaluation of the jawbone’s density to support implants is necessary; bone grafting may be required in some instances. Patients must also understand the treatment plan, from implant placement to crown attachment, and be aware of potential risks such as infection or implant failure.

Ways to relax during a dental implant procedure
To execute such procedures, dentists utilize various strategies to help patients relax. Clear communication about the procedure beforehand is essential, as understanding what to expect can reduce anxiety. Options like oral sedatives are often provided to induce relaxation or sleep during the procedure. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area, ensuring the patient experiences no pain.

A more comfortable environment can be created by providing pillows, blankets, or playing soothing music. Distraction techniques, like showing movies or using virtual reality, are also employed by dentists to divert the patient’s attention from the procedure.  Additionally, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or mindfulness practices aid in soothing patients before and during the procedure. By customizing these approaches to individual needs, dentists create a more relaxed and comfortable experience for patients undergoing dental implant procedures.

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Dr. Karishma Jaradi is head dental surgeon at Dentzz Dental, Mumbai.

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