A Dental Implant is an artificial tooth consisting of a root and natural looking that is placed directly into the jaw to replace a missing tooth or teeth.
The root is made of titanium or a titanium alloy which enables them to integrate with the surrounding bone with relative ease. The replacement tooth is made of porcelain, or special plastic (sometimes on a metal base) and it is fitted on top of the titanium root.
For appropriate cases we offer our patients flapless placement of their Dental implants. This means no incision or suture and no post-operative swelling, even in full arch cases.
The Dental Implant procedure is most commonly performed under Local anesthetic. The course of treatment from the initial placement of the implants to the time of placing the first teeth can vary from six weeks to six months depending on the complexity of the case. Oral hygiene for implants is similar to cleaning your natural teeth.
Benefits of a Dental implant
- Replaces one or more teeth without affecting neighboring teeth
- A long lasting solution
- Help to prevent bone recession
- Eliminates the risk of dental decay
- Improves your speech, overall self-image and increases your ability to eat an array of foods
Stages of treatment
- Diagnosis and treatment planning – an initial assessment, this usually includes x-rays, OPG or CT Scan. Sometimes you may need a bone graft or a procedure called a sinus-lift if the implant needs additional support.
- Implant placement – followed by six weeks to six months of healing. Often the implants are hidden below the gum and do not detract from the aesthetics. The implants can be restored with temporary crowns during this phase to improve the appearance.
- Several visits may be needed for adjustments and fine tuning.
- Taking an impression of the new root and its relationship to other teeth in mouth.
- The implants can then be finished after healing is complete – with the permanent teeth being placed.
- Regular exams and hygiene appointments will ensure long term success.
- Implants can last a lifetime with proper home care and routine dental inspections. Unlike dentures, implants are permanently fixed and cannot be removed once placed. (Unless intended by the dentist)
Is fitting a Dental Implant comfortable?
As with all dental care, modern techniques are quite comfortable. The initial part of fitting an implant requires surgery to insert the root. This is usually performed with a local anesthetic but you may also have sedation if preferred. It is not uncommon to feel some soreness or swelling following the procedure. For most people this is very minor and can be controlled by taking over-the counter analgesics.
How can Dental Implants improve dentures?
Full dentures can be anchored with just a few implants. You will be able to chew more effectively and can avoid the necessity of covering the palate with a plate. This improves the enjoyment and taste of food. The dentures are still removable but they are held by a bar or magnets.
Can my Dental Implants be affected by gum disease?
Yes, the gum surrounding the implant is the same as that around your original teeth, so gum disease could occur if your oral hygiene is lacking. You need to maintain good brushing, flossing and inter dental cleaning.
The treatment may not be appropriate for every patient and it is conditional on the satisfactory assessment being carried out. Dentist must assess the patient, obtain appropriate consent, obtain a medical history and explain all the options before carrying out any work.