Implants are able to restore proper chewing, swallowing and speech, and improve appearances should one or more teeth be missing. In addition, implants are a good alternative to removable dentures. Other therapeutic indications include the improvement of poorly fitting dentures due to unfavourable anatomical conditions or advanced bone loss, the treatment of holes without damaging adjacent teeth, bones or mucosal defects within the mouth, tooth agenesis, upper and / or lower jaw malformations, speech disorder due to dentures, and allergies to denture materials.
Implants are artificial tooth roots usually consisting of the biocompatible material titanium, but rarely also of biocompatible ceramic materials. Both titanium and ceramics are considered by the organism as being body tissue and therefore do not lead to rejection. Allergic reactions are not known. The scope of application for ceramic implants is still very limited and costly, so it is applied much less than other methods.
Implantations involve placing an artificial root into the bone. They are mostly screwed on and vary in length and diameter depending on the situation.
Implantation is usually performed on an outpatient basis under local anaesthesia. If desired the operation can also be conducted under sedation or general anaesthesia. Once the implant is in place tissue will grow during the healing period onto the implant surface creating a bone-implant composite (osseointegration). "Unscrewing" of a healthy implant is therefore not feasible. In a further step a crown, bridge or prosthesis holding element may be attached to the artificial root.
Once the new tooth or dentures are firmly fixed within the mouth they will look and feel like natural teeth. The artificial dentures made by the dental technician are usually made of the same or similar substances that cover the natural tooth. Depending on the situation dentures may be equipped with metal frames or metal-free, all-ceramic attachments.
As opposed to conventional dentures implant supported dentures fit firmly and damage to remaining teeth does not occur or is significantly reduced.