Dental implants are a near perfect replacement for your natural teeth. The result is long-lasting and durable.
What is a Dental Implant?
An implant is a manufactured replacement for the root of a tooth. It consists of a titanium post that is surgically positioned into the jawbone where the teeth are missing. Just like when someone gets a hip or knee replacement, titanium is used because it is compatible with bone and allows the bone to grow around the screw, keeping it firmly attached.
A natural ceramic crown/tooth is then attached to the top of the implant to fill the gap of the missing tooth and restore the smile.
Dental implants are becoming more commonly used to replace missing teeth due to their aesthetic and functional benefits. Dental implants are now considered the treatment of choice over conventional tooth replacement options such as dental bridges and removable dentures.
What are the advantages of implants?
Implants are natural-looking and create the most natural and life-like solution to missing teeth. They are virtually indistinguishable from other teeth and allow you to eat, speak, and maintain good oral health.
Dental implants also help to preserve bone. Just like muscle, if you don’t use it you lose it.
Whenever you bite down or chew on food, forces are transmitted through your tooth into the surrounding jawbone. This stimulation helps keep the jawbone healthy and strong, but if you have a tooth extracted then your jawbone loses this stimulation resulting in the jaw shrinking in size and becoming weaker. This can affect the shape of your face, causing you to look prematurely aged. The placement of dental implants can significantly reduce this process, helping to maintain the natural bone structure and support your facial features.
Having a missing tooth replaced with a dental implant means that every time you bite down on the implant these forces are transmitted into the jawbone once more, helping to provide the stimulation it needs to stay healthy.
How is an implant fitted?
Your dentist will take a series of scans to aid in the planning and positioning of the implant. It will also ensure plenty of healthy bone structure is available to support the implant. If the bone is inadequate, bone grafting or augmentation may be required prior to the dental implant procedure.
The titanium implant is surgically placed in the jawbone where a tooth once was. Dental implants are placed under local anaesthetic, however we can provide additional Sleep Dentistry options to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. It is then left for between two and six months, so that the bone can integrate around the implant. During this time, you may wear a temporary crown.
Once the implant is securely fused to the bone, the temporary crown is removed and a permanent crown is inserted.
Am I a suitable candidate for implants?
Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or tooth decay may be a candidate for dental implants. The determining factor is that the growth of the jaw is complete and they are in good health to undergo a surgical procedure.
Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant. If you have been missing your teeth for many years and the bone has resorbed, bone grafting or augmentation may be required prior to the dental implant procedure.
The best candidates for an implant with a very high success rate are those who have healthy gum tissue and are free of periodontal disease. There are also some medical conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis, or lifestyle choices such as smoking, that may need to be addressed prior to implant treatment.
It is important to fully discuss your medical history with one of our dentists in the planning stages of the implant procedure.
How do I take care of implants?
Dental implants need to be routinely cleaned and maintained just like your natural teeth. Without routine oral hygiene practices, they can develop gum inflammation, infection and even bone loss if not properly cared for.
Regular brushing and flossing around your dental implants is extremely important. And, it is very important to maintain your 6 monthly visits to your dentist who will be able to review and ensure the surrounding gums and bone remain healthy.
How long will dental implants last?
With proper oral hygiene, you can expect dental implants to last around 20 years. However, it’s entirely possible for them to last a lifetime.
Some of the common reasons people have implants
- Fill in the space of missing teeth
- Stabilise dentures
- Cosmetic enhancement of their smile
- Prevent other teeth from moving
- Difficulties chewing and speaking
- They wish to upgrade from a removable denture to a permanent dental appliance