All too often, we forget how precious some things are until we lose them for good. This applies to our teeth as well. Their loss, whatever might have caused it, can mark a dramatic turning point in our lives. Only too late do we painfully realise just how much our teeth influence our personal appearance. In fact, our teeth are a bit like our "visual business card" to be checked at first sight. Today, perhaps more than ever, our appearance and looks are considered vital factors to reflect our social competence. The strong connection between a person's looks and his or her private and professional success has been proven by scientists more than once. In this context, teeth are an essential part of an aesthetic and harmonious physiognomy. Healthy, good-looking teeth are considered a sign of vitality, authority and sympathy - after all, they're just sexy!
After the loss of a tooth, an implant can help us to maintain our quality of life so that we can still eat, laugh, and kiss without a care. Fortunately, there is the possibility to firmly attach such new tooth roots to the jaw bone so that the two grow together in a smooth and natural way. Modern implantology offers you a long-lasting solution for your individual tooth replacement in the form of implants which are fully functional and perfectly looking. In a relatively short time, you'll have new teeth that feel like your own.
Implants function as artificial tooth roots. This dental restoration technique has long overcome its "teething troubles" and is generally regarded as the best dental restoration method. Implants provide the perfect alternative to common dental prostheses such as bridges or dentures. Our KU64 team has many years of experience in the field of implantology.
The advantages of implants are:
The disadvantages of implants are:
Today, almost all implants are made of titanium, the ideal material for bone adhesion. The effects and qualities of titanium have been thoroughly explored. This metal is extremely durable and absolutely biocompatible. Our implants have an additional bioactive surface to accelerate the healing process.
Good to know - some facts about the implantation process
The implantation should be carried out immediately after the careful removal of the tooth. As a precondition, the teeth, the gums, and the whole periodontium (in plain terms, the whole oral area affected!) must be thoroughly prepared. There is no point in inserting an expensive implant if, for example, a gingival infection or an insufficient prophylaxis jeopardize the sustainable success of the treatment.
The stronger the bone, the better the implant adheres to its base. However, smaller bone deficiencies such as an overly thin jaw bone can be compensated by the accretion of own bone or bone substitutes. In other words, the implantation process won't be successful without an extensive bone formation. Here the term "sinus lift" comes into play. During this process, the jaw cavity floor is lifted to create a hollow space above the jaw bone. This extra cavity is refilled with the patient's own bone and bone substitute material. After approx. 4 months, this filling will have ossified. By means of this technique, the upper jaw implants (sinus lifts are only applied in the maxilla) are properly stabilised.
To fit the implant into place, the gums are carefully detached from the jaw in the implant area. Thereafter, a hole as a perfectly fitting counterpart of the implant is drilled into the jaw in a multi-step procedure. Then, the implant is screwed into place. Finally, the gums are sewed up again over the implant.
Apart from the sore feeling after the implantation, low-impact pain killers should sufficiently suppress any pain that might occur after the treatment. Depending on the extent of the operation, slight or moderate swelling and smaller effusions of blood might occur within the first week after the surgery.
During this phase, the implant grows into the jaw bone and connects to it in a process called osseointegration. This process should be completed after 6 (lower jaw) and approx. 12 weeks (upper jaw) respectively.
In the third phase of the process, your dentist will open the implant again to fix the dental prosthesis on the artificial tooth root. This artificial base can be formed by crowns, bridges, or dentures. In certain cases, the individual implants are connected by a bar holding the prosthesis.
Patients' questions from A to Z
Is there any risk of allergic reactions?
Implants have been used for more than 40 years now. Titanium is free of allergenic substances and is generally neutral to the body.
Is there an age limit?
The bone growth of the patient should be fully completed (which is usually the case at around 18 years of age). In case of doubt, X-ray images of the carpus can provide clarification. At any rate, you're never too old for tooth implants!
Is ambulant treatment common?
Yes. It is also possible to have several implants inserted in one and the same treatment process.
How long does the treatment take?
6 to 12 weeks of implant osseointegration, followed by the dissection procedure. Then, 14 days later, the dental impression for laboratory use will be taken, and the tooth colour is determined. Another 10 days later, the "crowning" procedure will be carried out. The entire process takes a maximum of four months.
Healing phase: Will I have to be without my teeth for weeks?
No. A removable dental prostheses can be taken out again. They will be extended and abraded, and, in certain cases, a travelling prosthesis will be made. There also are temporary prostheses which can be carried for a longer time.
Will the anaesthetic syringe effect complete anaesthesia?
Yes. A feeling of vibration and pressure is still possible, but there won't be any pain! If you still prefer to sleep during the operation - that's no problem. We offer general anaesthesia every Wednesday. You can consult our anaesthetists on Mondays between 5.00-6.00pm for a preparatory talk.
Are the implants suitable for diabetics?
Yes, our implants are suitable for diabetics. However, they should be individually adapted. Please ask your local GP.
How does an implant feel?
Allow for a little bit of time to get used to it. Since the nerves in the tooth do no longer exist, the feeling will be unusual, especially when you talk, eat or laugh. It will take you about 6 months to fully get accustomed to the implanted material.
How durable are implants?
Do implants have an effect on heart pacemakers?
There are no electromagnetic effects.
Why is bone rebuilding crucial?
The bones generally lose substance. Implants, however, need sufficient structural support. Bones can be rebuilt by the body's own or by external material.
What about the costs?
Given that more than 90 percent of implants are still in a perfect state after a ten year period, the costs of an implant, calculated on a comparable daily basis, are lower than the price of your daily newspaper.
Can I expect reimbursement?
Since January 2005, German health insurances share the costs for dental implantations at a fixed rate. Ms Seidel, our health insurance expert, will happily advise you on this and assist you when making a direct application for reimbursement apart from the general therapeutic and cost schedule. As a rule, additional insurance coverage is useful here. If you have a private insurance plan, you should carefully check the allowances they offer - as they differ considerably. At any rate, you will receive an estimate before the implantation treatment is carried out.
Do I have to take sick leave?
You might have to take a short time off from work. You can usually start to work again after a few days.
Can medications cause problems?
An interaction with medications can not be excluded! Cortisone, for example, can change your metabolism and the conditions of your immune system.
Can this affect the healing process?
Anti-bleeding drugs might cause hemorrhages.
Should I stop smoking?
Smoking jeopardizes the long-term success of the implantation.
Are there any risks resulting from the implantation?
An implantation is a small-scale surgical operation. Therefore, there is a risk that injuries to the nerves and blood vessels might occur. Hence, an experienced oral surgeon will carry out the operation. Since we use stereoscopic X-ray devices, the risk factor is relatively minimal, e.g. the rejection of tissue has been rarely observed in dental implants.
How painful will the healing process be?
The areas around the implants will feel sore. Should there be stronger pain, this can be blocked by low-impact pain relievers in most cases. Swelling may form during the first week after the operation.
Should my teeth be bleached BEFORE the implantation?
Yes. The natural teeth should be bleached before you choose your new tooth colour.
Can I take exercise after the implantation?
During the first days after the implantation, any physical exercise should be avoided!
Is special dental care necessary after the implantation?
Just brush your teeth as usual and utilise mouth rinse solutions.
Source: CAMLOG / KU64
Edited September 2011 by KU64, Dental practice for implantology