A dental implant is an artificial tooth ‘root’ (often made of medical-grade titanium) that is put into the jaw bone to support an artificial tooth (usually a porcelain crown). Titanium is a biocompatible material and is virtually allergy-free.
Implants act as unique anchors. Their application has opened the door to a whole new range of treatment options that we once could only imagine. The implant is most often put into the jaw bone under a local anaesthetic and the bone grows onto the implant and integrates to the surface of the implant screw. A dental implant looks, feels and works just the same as a natural tooth. Implants can be a great long term tooth replacement solution.
When can dental implants be used?
Dental implants are used in three different ways:
- to replace a single missing tooth
- to support a bridge (when several teeth are missing)
- to support and retain a denture (implant-retained dentures) in instances where a majority or all teeth are missing.
Single tooth dental implants these days are so ‘real’ looking that you’d find it hard to know it is not your own tooth both in look and feel. For most, the thought of needing dentures is not nice. Thank goodness dental implants are now readily available. Implants are fantastic for replacing missing teeth from trauma, decay, or even for those born with missing teeth.
Imagine replacing a single tooth or multiple missing teeth without the need for ‘false teeth’. For those that have more advanced dental needs where a partial denture or full denture is necessary, implants can be used successfully to stabilise them. Imagine this… eliminating uncomfortable denture movement during biting and avoiding the embarrassing situation of a denture becoming dislodged during conversation.
How does it work?
We will carry out a comprehensive examination of your mouth and determine whether you are a suitable candidate.
If implants are a viable option for you, we will then prepare a treatment plan, together with cost projections, and discuss this with you.
The implant screw is placed by a specialist surgeon, whom we will refer you to.
Once the implant has been placed, a temporary healing ‘cap’ will be placed over it. Time is allowed for the site to recover from the surgery. In the healing period, a temporary cap can be placed on the implant screw if required.
The final crown restoration will not be placed until the implant is stable in the jaw bone, the time for which varies between individuals, but the average time is around 3 months. We will discuss your particular case with the specialist surgeon to give you an approximation of the time your case may take.
Will I be a suitable candidate?
An implant can only be positioned if there is enough bone under the gum to support it. If you have missing teeth because of gum disease (periodontitis), this can affect the success of implant placement. Likewise, lifestyle habits like smoking can have an effect on the success of implants, as well as conditions such as diabetes.
We will work together with you and the implant surgeon to ensure that your implant placement is properly managed to ensure the best possible outcome.
Smoking raises the likelihood of gum disease and considerably delays healing of the implant site, increasing the procedure time and in some cases, causes the implant to fail altogether. If you happen to be a smoker and you would like to consider stopping, we are happy to talk to you more about this.
How do I look after Implants?
Implants need to be maintained the same way as natural teeth. Like natural teeth, they can get contamination around the gum. If left untreated, this infection can spread to the bone that has integrated onto the titanium ‘root’ which, consequently, can lead to the loss of the implant. To prevent this from happening, brush thoroughly with a soft toothbrush, floss or use interdental brushes every day around the implant (as well as all the rest of your teeth) and start a regular hygiene maintenance routine with us.
- Look and feel completely natural, improving your appearance and confidence
- Don’t irritate the gums the way dentures can
- Are stable and secure for improved eating and speech
- Are convenient and reliable—and can’t be lost or misplaced like dentures
- Help protect remaining teeth from shifting and becoming loose by filling in the gap left by missing teeth
- Help maintain fullness of the facial tissues for a more youthful look
- Can stimulate bone growth, helping prevent the unattractive “bite collapse” that denture wearers can suffer
- Are strong enough to support other dental appliances, making bridgework or dentures more secure and comfortable
- Can last a lifetime with proper care
- With all of these benefits, it’s easy to understand why dental implants have become the gold standard for tooth replacement.
Speak to us today to see if Implants are right for you!