Tooth-in-an-hour technology is now a reality in India. But can the average citizen afford it, asks Jayata Sharma – Indian Express Newspapers, to Dr. Puneet Kathuria, New Delhi.
Tooth-in-an-hour (TiaH) technology is providing some relief for dentists as well as patients. TiaH is a solution for replacing missing teeth by providing artificial roots called Tiunite implants and fixing teeth on top of them, all in one sitting. The technique requires careful planning and the use of software called Nobel Guide, designed by Nobel Biocare, a restorative aesthetic dentistry company. Implantation can also be done using technology from various other firms such as Bio Horizon, Alpha Bio, Zimmer, Frilayet and Dentsply.
TiaH is a procedure wherein, after an X-ray and CT scan, the best position for implants is planned on the computer. A small hole is drilled in the bone under totally sterile conditions and an implant of appropriate size is inserted. A prefabricated crown — temporary, but strong — is selected and placed over the titanium implant extension. The whole procedure takes about one hour. The fixture is shaped like a screw: the bone can grow around it and hold it firmly. After three to four months, the temporary implant is replaced by the permanent one.
However, things are different for implanting the whole jaw. It might take two sittings of around two hours each. Understanding the jaw relationships is what takes time. “Twelve teeth each of upper and lower arches can be replaced using this technique in two sittings,” says Dr Puneet Kathuria, Prosthodontist and Implantologist, New Delhi.
Need For TiaH
TiaH is a safer and quicker alternative to the classic way of placing implants and fixing permanent teeth. The conventional way has a waiting period of three to six months after placing the implants. Also, the removable temporary dentures are uncomfortable.
The Key Role of Titanium
Titanium is the most biocompatible metal as proved by years of research. It helps in the quick formation of bone around the extracted tooth. Also, it is capable of having a firm hold in the gums. Plus, these implants come with a special surface called Tiunite, which helps in holding on to other teeth as well.
With the advent of dental tourism, India needs to be updated with all procedures dentists in the West offer. “We should try to learn and master the technique as early as possible. Sooner or later, you are bound to get enquiries for TiaH,” avers Dr. Kathuria. “We should try to learn and master the technique as early as possible“- Dr. Puneet Kathuria, Prosthodontist and Implantologist, New Delhi.
Another benefit is the precision-based stent, which helps dentists to place implants without raising the gum flap of the patient.
Benefits to Patients
A major benefit to the patients is that they can walk out of the dentist’s place with a tooth in their mouth, quite unlike the conventional procedure that took days to replace a tooth. “One can actually go out and eat with these teeth, plus the patient is saved from dentures,” It is a time-saving and almost painless technique, as there is no need to drill adjoining teeth to fix the missing one. The dentist can just punch the implant in the space left after extraction. “Patients are benefited by immediate better aesthetics and function; and they can be sure of better psychological security,” Patients having an active lifestyle and requiring quick solutions can opt for TiaH. “It is safe, effective, saves time and provides maximum comfort by having almost no post-surgical recovery time,”
The Cost Factor
The cost of these titanium implants can range from Rs 35,000 to Rs 60,000 each. Latest technology, ambience and absolute sterility play a major part in cost derivation for every dentist. But the factors determining cost for jaw implants are more varied: a bar or a framework to support them, or offering lip support and shape via the implant denture when there is a collapse of facial features. “Cost also depends on the unique requirements of the individual patient.”
The basic cost for scanning and fabrication remains the same. What differs, is the lab cost and the dentist’s professional fee. “Since it is a relatively new technology, I am sure the company will make it cost-effective to reach the masses as well,” quips Dr Kathuria.
Need To Import Implants
In fact, manufacturing titanium implants has been tried in India by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), New Delhi. “I was one of the two people selected to carry out clinical trials on dental implants by INMAS. But the precision part of the surgical and prosthetic kits was lacking, hence it got a mixed response, and definitely required better innovation and improvement,” says Dr Kathuria. A non-titanium implant is also in early stages of research.