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Implants

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Dental implants offer a permanent solution for your missing teeth.

A dental implant is essentially a substitute for a natural root.

It is usually in the form of a screw or the shape of a cylinder. Each implant is placed into a socket carefully drilled at the precise location of the intended tooth.

Almost all dental implants in use today are made from titanium or related alloys of titanium. This unique material has been shown over many years to be well tolerated by bone. The placement of an implant creates an initial stability which is enhanced by further natural growth of bone into the microscopic roughness on the implant surface. The terms ‘osseointegrated implants’ or ‘endosseous implants’ are widely used to describe this unique property of bone “growing” in and around the implant.

There are many different implant systems available and when competently used they can all deliver a highly reliable form of treatment.

In order to support replacement teeth dental implants normally have some form of internal screw thread or post space that allows a variety of components to be fitted. Once fitted, these components provide the foundation for long-term support of crowns, bridges or dentures.

This type of treatment has multiple steps and our clinicians will be delighted to take you through these stages.

Below are some of the commonly raised questions.

Why should I replace my missing teeth with a dental implant?

When you lose a tooth, it is often best for your oral health to have it replaced. Missing teeth can affect your bite as well as your ability to chew and speak. Their loss can increase the burden on your remaining teeth as well as affect your appearance and your self- confidence. An implant can stop your jawbone shrinking once you have lost your tooth.

What are my tooth replacement options?

  • Leave the space or gap. The problem here is that other teeth move or tilt into the space and the bite is altered. When it is in the front of the mouth, leaving the gap is usually not acceptable to most people.
  • A removable plastic or metal-based partial denture is relatively inexpensive but also often not acceptable because it can be removed. A denture can damage adjacent teeth, especially if it is poorly fitting.
  • A fixed bridge is where several teeth are joined together and cemented onto the adjacent teeth on either side of the gap. The adjacent teeth need to be strong and may be cut down to form stumps.
  • A dental implant replaces the tooth and supports the new crown on top.

What are the benefits of having dental implants?

  • The new tooth will look and feel like your own teeth.
  • You do not have to wear a denture, or have to grind down the adjacent teeth to secure a bridge.
  • You will have confidence in chewing food, just as you do with you own teeth.
  • If you wear dentures already, implants can secure a denture and improve your chewing power and confidence.
  • Dental implants stop your gums and bone from shrinking which reduces the aging effect caused by losing teeth.

How are dental implants placed?

The whole procedure can be done simply in the dental chair. As it is a surgical procedure we use strict sterile conditions. After the gums are numbed, the gum is gently lifted and special instruments prepare the socket for the implant. After the implant is in position, soft stitches will be used to help the healing. Approximately six weeks later, the gum is gently uncovered from the implant and a small metal button is screwed into the implant. One week later, an impression is taken of the implant and sent with the right colour match to the laboratory to construct the new crown. Two weeks later, the crown is fitted.

Will I be without teeth during treatment?

We understand it can be embarrassing for patients to be without their teeth. During the treatment we will do all we can to help you smile confidently and that nobody will know you have a gap. If you do need to be without teeth to allow initial healing, this will be clearly explained to you before treatment commences

Will it hurt?

No, we numb the gums, so you will not feel anything during treatment. Post-operative pain is not usually a problem for patients either, and any of the simple painkillers you might take for a headache will be all that is needed for a day or two.

If I am really anxious, can you make it more comfortable for me?

We have very effective means by which you can achieve a relaxed state, so there is no need for you to be anxious and nervous. Some patients prefer to have their implants placed under conscious sedation. A carefully controlled amount of sedative (valium-like substance) is placed in the arm to help relax you. (See Sedation treatment)

Can implants be placed at the same time as removing the tooth?

Sometimes it is possible to take out the tooth and place the implant at the same time. The advantage here is that it shortens treatment time. Immediate placement of the implant following tooth extraction is an acceptable treatment approach and is gaining scientific support. However, each case has to be selected on its merits, as this approach involves more risk of complications.

Am I too old for dental implants/Will I have enough bone?

No. Any person at any age can have dental implants as long as there is enough bone available in which to place the dental implants. If there is not enough bone, extra bone can often be grafted.

How long will the implants last?

Research and clinical studies show that implants are a predictable, long-lasting and successful treatment option. Such is our success rate that we will guarantee any implant in the first year, which means that if one of your dental implants does not heal in the bone we will replace the implant and do the surgical replacement free of charge.

Would I need to do anything prior to treatment?

Yes. As part of our consultation we will screen your gums and bone for any infections. Prior to implant placement your remaining teeth and gums need to be healthy. We will offer any additional treatment to ensure that your mouth is healthy prior having implants.

How long does the treatment take?

For routine cases treatment time is usually 14 to 18 weeks. More complex cases can take longer. For instance, when there is sufficient bone, treatment time is shortened and when there is insufficient bone, treatment time can be increased. Your specific treatment schedule will be explained to you during your consultation.

How often will I need to have my dental implants checked?

It is essential that you continue to see your own dentist and your hygienist for regular check-ups. Clinical studies have shown that a yearly review with your Implantologist is best for the longevity of your implants. Some patients need more detailed maintenance; this will be explained prior the commencement of your treatment.

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