What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is made of titanium and shaped like a screw. The implant is placed into the jawbone to take the place of a missing tooth, and serves as a secure root for the new tooth.
Once the implant is placed into the jaw bone it becomes fused to the bone. This is known as osseointegration. The implant can then be used to support different types of dental restorations, such as crowns, bridges or dentures.
Dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth.
Advantages of dental over dentures or bridges
Every way you look at it, dental implants are better solution to the problem of missing teeth.
Aesthetic Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. Since dental implants integrate into the structure of your bone, they prevent the bone loss and gum recession that often accompany bridgework and dentures. No one will ever know that you have a replacement tooth.
Tooth-saving Dental implants don’t sacrifice the quality of your adjacent teeth like a bridge does because neighboring teeth are not altered to support the implant. More of your own teeth are left untouched, a significant long-term benefit to your oral health!
Confidence Dental implants will allow you to once again speak and eat with comfort and confidence. They are secure and offer freedom from the irksome clicks and wobbles of dentures. They’ll allow you to say goodbye to worries about misplaced dentures and messy pastes and glues.
Reliable The success rate of dental implants is highly predictable. They are considered an excellent option for tooth replacement.
How successful are dental implants?
The success of dental implants are dependent on a variety of factors including good dental hygiene, and available bone, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease. If after assessment the underlying bone is judged to be deficient, a number of options are available for bone regeneration including sinus augmentations or lifts.
Research has shown the success of single tooth replacements to range between 93 to 100 %. There are many implant systems in the world today and we use the most researched implant systems on the market. The systems we use most are Biomet3i, the Swedish AstraTech and Swiss Straumann implant systems. The choice between using them is dependent on the clinical situation. All 3 systems have many years of research behind them and are used in many teaching institutions around the world.
Dental implants are intimately connected with the gum tissues and underlying bone in the mouth. Since Periodontists are the dental experts who specialise in precisely these areas, they are the ideal members of your dental implant team. Periodontists have special knowledge of the anatomy and health of the soft tissues both around teeth and implants. They are ideally positioned to provide you with teeth that look and feel just like your own. Your dentist and Periodontist will work together to ensure the best possible outcome for you.
Implants can be used for the following situations:
|When one tooth is missing:
||When several teeth are missing:
||When all teeth are missing:
Sometimes a full arch of artificial teeth can be placed on 4 or 6 implants fixed on the same day as the hopeless teeth are extracted. This is often referred to as ‘All-on-4’ or ‘fixed teeth in a day’. A high degree of operator-skill and associated technology is required for these techniques which we can provide here at Mount Vernon .
What are the benefits of implants?
- Implant secured, or stabilised replacement teeth are more comfortable than conventional dentures because there is no slipping or movement. This eliminates some of the key worries of dentures and improves self confidence.
- Dental implants are the alternative to bridgework for permanently replacing missing teeth, eliminating the need to grind down healthy teeth.
- When teeth are missing the surrounding bone begins to shrink. Dental implants can help maintain the shape and structure of the jaw bone.
What is involved in the implant process?
The implant process normally involves several steps that take place over a period of time from 3 to 9 months. Although there are various implant treatment methods, a typical process often includes:
- Step 1: Assessment and planning
At initial consultation, after discussing possible alternatives, the Periodontist will assess the feasibility of providing implant treatment. X-rays may be taken and preliminary models may be prepared. A written plan is usually then formulated detailing the sequence of treatment and associated cost.
- Step 2: Implant placement
A relatively simple minor surgical procedure that can be performed under sterile conditions in the dental surgery under local anaesthesia and, if indicated, supplemented by conscious sedation. If after assessment the underlying bone is judged to be deficient, a number of options are available for bone regeneration. This may be carried out prior to, or at the same time as, the implant placement.
- Step 3: Integration period
Although some implants can be loaded into function immediately or soon after surgery, it is often suggested that a period of three months or more be allowed for the implant to fully integrate before loading. The patient’s own denture or in some cases a simple adhesive bridge, can be worn during this healing phase.
- Step 4: The restorative phase
Once integrated, the implants may need to be uncovered and can be brought into function with a variety of restorations, ranging from a single crown, small or large bridge, or if preferred, a removable overdenture clipped to the implants. The replacement teeth are constructed by a specialist dental laboratory working closely with the Periodontist or your own dental surgeon.
- Step 5: Maintenance
Following the completion of implant treatment, patients need to clean thoroughly around the implants as instructed by the Periodontist. They should attend their dentist for regular review so that the health of the soft tissue, bone levels and the integrity of the restoration can be checked.
You know that your confidence about your teeth affects how you feel about yourself, both personally and professionally.
Perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth. Maybe your dentures don’t feel secure. Perhaps you have difficulty chewing.
If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to smile, speak and eat again with comfort and confidence, there is good news!