A dental implant takes over the same function as the natural dental root. It is fixed into a toothless section of the lower or upper jaw directly into the jaw bone. An implant usually consists of three components: The implant body fixated in the jaw bone, the neck, and the crown affixed to it. The material used for an implant satisfies exactly specified requirements. It has to be taken well by the jaw bone, graft without any problems, and withstand the everyday stresses and strains of chewing for a long time. The implant material may not cause defence reactions of the body - it has to be biocompatible. Titanium has proven to be an excellent material for several decades. Ceramic materials have not seen widespread usage yet. Today, several implant systems are available. They differ in design, the surface composition and the type of connection between implant body and the prostheses fixed thereupon. The implant systems usually in use have the shapes of a cylinder, a screw or a root.
Implant-based prostheses of single teeth.
Implant-based prostheses of several teeth
The five most important questions about dental implants
How is the crown attached to an implant?As soon as the implant has successfully integrated, the prosthetic treatment begins. The implant is complemented by a head, the so-called abutment. The dental crown will be screwed or cemented onto this head.
How long does an implant last?After successful integration, about 90% of implants are still completely functional 10 years later. If an implant is not overburdened and kept free of infections with good dental hygiene, the lifespan of an implant is usually not impaired in case of average health. As a comparison: Conventional bridges have a success rate of about 80% after 10 years, individual crowns about 70-75%. On average, only ca. 50% of teeth with root-canal fillings reach the 10-year-span.
How much does a crown cost on an implant?The costs of a dental implant consist of three parts
- Cost of treatment by the dentist
- Costs of the dental laboratory and
- Material costs.
Can a crown on an implant be replaced?In principle, implant crowns can be “changed”. In this case, the existing crowns will be carefully removed. A new dental cast will be made afterwards, and new crowns manufactured. An implant-based dental prosthesis can be expanded or changed at any time. That way, the implant for a single tooth can be used as an abutment for a bridge or a prosthesis without any problems after several years.
When can an implant be placed, and when can it not?From replacing individual teeth, to large tooth gaps, shortened rows of teeth up to completely toothless upper jaws - those are all meaningful areas of application for implants. A toothless lower jaw will often be treated by inserting implants if it cannot provide enough stability for a conventional complete prosthesis. The jaw must exhibit a minimum of bone substance to enable sufficiently long implants to be fixed. The presence of severe systemic diseases speak against using implants, such as
- cardiac diseases,
- bleeding tendencies,
- bone diseases
- and metabolic diseases (i.e. severe diabetes that is not well-adjusted).