How is a dental implant placed?
An implant is a permanent fixture (usually titanium) that is embedded into your jaw. This procedure is usually performed in-clinic, although if the patient prefers surgery, it can also be completed in a hospital setting as an out-patient procedure.
Implants are generally a three-step journey. Depending on your case, the final step can go one of two ways. For single tooth replacements, your implant will have a full crown placed over it, and for multiple missing teeth, a bridge will be placed.
The implant is surgically buried flush with the bone, under the gum. This protects the implant from any force as it heals.
At the end of this healing process, some of the overlying gum is then removed to expose the implant. At this stage, we will check the implant to make sure integration was successful, and an abutment is placed.
Abutments are essentially a post in which the crown or bridge will be attached to the implant. This is then allowed to heal so the gum creates a “cuff” or “collar”. Through this, the dentist has access to the implant during the final process of the restoration.
The final step is assessing the healing process, and placing the final enhancement. The final enhancement will either be a dental crown or a bridge, and will have been discussed with your dentist prior to the treatment plan commencing.
Why should I have a tooth replaced?
Your lost tooth hasn’t given you any grief to date, right? So why spend more money on replacing a tooth when it isn’t bothering you? Well, your teeth play more roles in your mouth than just chewing your food, which is why it’s important to have missing teeth replaced.
Replacing a tooth is not just for aesthetic appeal: your teeth play a larger role in your oral health and maintenance beyond chewing your food. Your teeth make brief contact with each other hundreds of times a day: when you chew, talk, drink etc. These fleeting moments of contact provide stimulation to the jaw and alveolar bone. This stimulation also enables the bone to remodel and rebuild, and helps to preserve the jawbone and bone density in the long term.
If a tooth or teeth are lost, it not only negatively impacts the position which has been left vacant, it also affects the tooth (and bone) opposite as it has essentially lost its “partner”. This loss of stimulation causes a 25% decrease in bone width during the first year, and an overall decrease of 4mm in height over the following years.
Eventually, chewing ability and speech may be impaired, with the cheeks hollowing out. Overall, while having a piece of titanium implanted into the bone seems a bit daunting, the future health benefits far outweigh ignoring the issue.
Dental Implants FAQs
What are the advantages of dental implants?
- Dental implants can improve your smile and your basic mouth functions
- Implants are permanent
- They are fixed and replace the need for a removable denture
- It is a more comfortable alternative than wearing dentures
- You can replace one or more of your teeth
- It reduces the risk of bone, tooth loss and gum disease
- They look like your natural teeth
- Almost immediate results
- You can brush, floss, eat, drink and sleep with your dental implants
Who can get dental implants?
While most people are good candidates for dental implants, your gums and jawbone structure have to be strong and healthy for the procedure. However, people who suffer from a chronic illness like heart disease or diabetes may not be good candidates for the procedure and other options can be made available during a consultation. In some cases, bone grafting may be necessary.
Will dental implants work for me?
Dental implants have the ability to improve the smile and oral health of any patient who is missing one or many teeth at a high success rate, whether that may be caused by general tooth decay, trauma or gum disease or another issue.
When deciding who is a suitable candidate for dental implants, the number one factor is whether or not you have the requisite amount of healthy bone in order to support your implants. Dental implants can replace your teeth in almost every way and secure your oral health for many years to come as a permanent solution for tooth loss.
How much do dental implants cost?
Taking the decision to replace missing, heavily decayed or diseased teeth is one that can change your life. What price can you put on being able to chew your favourite foods or to smile without your missing teeth?
Dental implants, if taken care of, will last you the rest of your life and are made from some of the most sophisticated materials around. Everyone’s situation is totally unique, and some patients may require more extensive work than others, but whatever the cost of your dental implant treatment, it can be well worth it.
How will dental implants affect my life?
Dental implants won’t just change your smile, they will change your life. Anyone who has ever lost a tooth or many teeth, will attest to just how painful and frustrating it can be to chew a number of foods that are vital to your nutrition and a healthy diet. Dental implants can also transform your oral health and prevent the onset of the early signs of ageing associated with tooth loss.
What does the dental implant procedure involve?
Every good procedure begins with a consultation. We would first have to do an examination of your mouth and take an x-ray of the area. This is to ensure that dental implants are the best choice for you.
On average, the procedure should take about three or four visits to our practice with your second visit being to place the implant in your mouth while you are given a local anaesthetic to numb the area. We will have to wait for about three months for the wound to heal before we fit in the prosthetic teeth over the implant.
How long do dental implants last?
While dental implants are generally considered a long-term solution for tooth replacement, it is possible for them to last for a slightly shorter duration depending on individual circumstances. Factors such as bone density, oral hygiene, overall health, and habits like smoking can affect the lifespan of dental implants.
On average, dental implants have a high success rate and can last for 15 to 20 years or more with proper care. However, it is also important to note that some individuals may experience complications or issues that could result in the need for implant replacement or repair earlier than expected.
Regular dental check-ups and diligent oral hygiene practices are crucial for maintaining the health and longevity of dental implants. It’s best to consult with a dental professional who can provide personalised advice based on your specific situation.
How do dental implants work?
Dental implants are a popular option for replacing missing teeth. They are designed to function and look like natural teeth. The implant itself is a small titanium post that is surgically placed into the jawbone beneath the gum line. The process of getting dental implants typically involves several steps:
1. Evaluation and Planning: A dental examination is conducted to assess oral health and determine if implants are suitable.
2. Implant Placement: A titanium post is surgically inserted into the jawbone beneath the gum line.
3. Osseointegration: The implant integrates with the jawbone over a few months, providing a stable foundation.
4. Abutment Placement: An abutment is attached to the implant, protruding above the gum line.
5. Dental Restoration: A custom-made crown, bridge, or denture is placed on the abutment, completing the implant.
With proper care and maintenance, dental implants offer a durable and natural-looking solution for missing teeth.
Are dental implants safe?
Yes, dental implants are generally considered safe. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are some risks involved, such as infection, bleeding, and nerve injury. Proper evaluation, planning, and follow-up care can help minimise these risks. It’s important to discuss your medical history with a dental professional to ensure dental implants are a suitable option for you.