Dental implants are artificial teeth or prostheses that are inserted in place of one or more missing natural teeth, or even the whole set. A metal ‘root’ is inserted into the jawbone and bonds with the existing bone; an artificial tooth known as a ‘crown’ is then attached to the root via a connecting piece (‘abutment’).
A better alternative
Dental implants are surrounded by natural bone and gum tissue and are generally considered a better alternative to dentures or tooth supported bridges, especially if the surrounding teeth may already be weakened by large fillings or previous disease of the ligaments and jaw bone.
Early implant placement to replace a lost tooth can stop the surrounding bone from disappearing and prevent the uneven appearance of gums and bone when smiling.
Dental care for implanted teeth is much the same as for natural teeth and, if properly maintained, implants can last for many years. However if neglected, implants can be affected by plaque and gum infections even more so than natural teeth due to their delicate bond with the gum tissues.
Who is not suitable?
Implants are not suitable for everyone. They are not recommended for children under 17 years, smokers, people with active tooth decay or gum disease, pregnant women (due to the need for anaesthesia in surgery), people with some medical conditions or those with certain physical or psychological illnesses that will prevent proper healing or understanding of maintenance requirements.
At the surgery visit, either local or general anaesthetic will be administered for the procedure. Your National Dental Care dentist will discuss this with you at the planning stage. The surgery is then done in three separate stages.
First, the metal root is inserted into the jawbone. This is allowed to heal for up to three months before the abutment is fitted. Lastly, the crown is screwed or cemented onto the abutment.
Each procedure can take between thirty minutes and a few hours.
Dental implants – a permanent solution for tooth loss
Implants do not depend on surrounding teeth for support, so they reduce the risk failed prosthesis if the adjacent teeth should become loose, infected or fractured.
Implant supported crowns do not require the cutting or shaping of adjacent natural teeth for placement, so they are more conservative than conventional tooth supported bridges. Replacement of missing or lost teeth with implants can improve your appearance and improve the hollowed appearance of collapsed cheeks and lips.
Implants are more comfortable than dentures as they are permanently fixed to the jaw bone. Implants can also act as support for dentures, which means dentures do not move, unlike dentures supported by jaw bone and facial muscles.
Prior to implant placement surgery, your National Dental Care dentist will perform a comprehensive dental examination, which may also include photographs, x-ray images, a low dose cone-beam CT scan and a digital mouth scan or impressions for dental casts.
It is important to tell your National Dental Care dentist your entire medical history before surgery, including medicines you are currently taking, history of bone disease, like osteoporosis, any known surgery/anaesthesia related problems, or if you are prone to heavy bleeding.
Existing dental health problems, such as decay or gum disease, will need to be treated before surgery. The size and shape of your implants will be decided upon based on the remaining natural teeth—discuss your expectations with your National Dental Care dentist beforehand to ensure you are not disappointed, remembering that your implants may not look or feel exactly like your natural teeth.
After surgery time off work may be recommended for complex cases. If you had your implant placement procedure under sedation or general anaesthesia, you will not be able to drive and will need a chaperone.
It is not uncommon to experience some swelling, bruising or pain after the surgery, however these symptoms should settle within a week—icepacks and painkillers as recommended by the dentist can help manage this.
Antibiotics will be prescribed before your surgery. No alcohol or hard foods should be consumed for a few days.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding with a surgical or invasive procedure, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
What are dental implants used for?
Dental implants are an ideal way to replace missing teeth. National Dental Care can create a plan that gives you stable, beautiful and functional new teeth. Because quality and precision are crucial when it comes to implant dentistry, we take utmost care in planning and carrying out your treatment. You can be confident in the advanced materials and technologies we use to give you great results. Whether it’s to replace a single tooth or to create a full set of secure and stable new teeth, implants are a proven, long-lasting alternative to bridges and dentures. Replacing the root of your natural teeth, implants bond with the bone to form a stable foundation for permanent replacement teeth that look, feel and function like the real thing.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
If you have a missing tooth or teeth, or a loose lower denture, dental implants may be right for you. But there are many aspects to consider. The health and condition of your gums and bone play a major role in the decision process. That’s because, without a healthy structure in place, the implants will not be able to thrive. If you would like to speak to one of our expert professional team about implants, just let our front desk team know. They will add in extra time for discussion at your next visit.