Dental Implants

DENTAL SURGERY AND IMPLANTS

Dental Implants

Do you hide your smile because of spaces? Do you lack faith in the stability of your denture? Do you have difficulty in chewing? If the answer is ‘yes’ you probably need dental implants. Implants look and feel so natural that you may even forget that you ever lost a tooth.

Missing and damaged teeth are a common problem. Some people suffer discomfort and muscle strains as the remaining teeth move. When teeth are lost your jaw bone actually sinks away and from scientific research we now know that wearing dentures accelerates this process. This in turn affects the muscle tone of the face reducing bone support for the lips and cheeks and as we age the lips and lower half of the face collapses producing an aging effect.

You may not only be missing teeth, but other things too. A natural smile, confidence, not being able to eat the food you really want to. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
A dental implant is a small man-made titanium fixture that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth in your mouth. The implant is placed in the bone of your upper or lower jaw. Your bone then heals tightly around this implant and the implant then serves as an anchor for your replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used to replace a single lost tooth or many missing teeth. Implants are an alternative to complex restorative treatment such as conventional bridges and dentures. Implants are safe, non-toxic and biocompatible. First tried over 30 years ago, implants evolved to provide a treatment option with a 95% success rate over 10 years. Now considered the No.1 option to replace a missing tooth, implant based treatment is the future of replacing gaps. Implant supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth and dental implants preserve the integrity of your facial structure and appearance and reduce the inconvenience associated with tooth loss and dentures.

If you wish to replace missing teeth, dental implants are an effective long-term solution. Implants provide greater structural support and last longer than either bridges or dentures. They serve as the strongest and safest available artificial root to which new teeth are attached. The procedure normally involves three steps: implant insertion, osseointegration ( the healing of the jaw bone ) and the attachment of the new tooth or teeth.

What is a dental implant?

Dental implants are surgically placed into the bone in your jaws. They replace missing or extracted teeth. Once osseointegration has occurred, the definitive crown, bridge or denture can be constructed. In the interim period you will be provided with a provisional restoration. Traditionally, implant placement has been a multistage procedure. In some cases however, a single stage immediate loading implant with a crown is now possible.

Why implants?

Use of implants and osseo-integration has been documented for about 30 years. This treatment option is backed by a multitude of scientific literature and clinical experience.

Implants can:

  • Replace one or more teeth without affecting adjacent teeth
  • Support a bridge and eliminate the need for a removable denture
  • Provide support and retention for a denture
  • Be the exciting prospect for many patients to finally discard their dentures or avoid them totally

Who is a candidate for dental implants?

Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or decay may be a candidate for dental implants. If one, a few or all teeth are missing, dental implants in conjunction with a crown or bridge can replace those teeth. Occasionally, older patients express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits that dental implants offer. However, health is more of a determining factor than age. If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extracted you’re probably healthy enough to receive a dental implant. Your dentist will determine if you are a suitable candidate for an implant after a careful evaluation of your dental and medical health history. At this time all your questions can be answered.

How long will the treatment take?

Treatment time will vary depending on your particular situation. Nowadays it is often possible to get well-functioning and esthetic looking teeth within a few days. In some cases it may be necessary to wait longer before finishing the restoration in order to obtain an optimal result.

Procedure

Initial consultation, assessment and planning is the first step. The options appropriate for you will be discussed with you. Preoperative radiographs are taken, you may require specialized imaging in the form of computerized tomography. This will allow the surgeon to have a 3D reconstruction of your jaws, allowing perfect planning for the best outcome.
If there is insufficient quality and quantity of bone to place the implant into, osseointegration may be compromised. As this is a key to success, you may require a bone augmentation procedure to allow the implant to have optimal status. Your dentist will discuss all these eventualities and possibilities in the initial stages.
The placement of a single implant is a relatively minor procedure and routinely carried out under local anesthesia, many patients report that it is easier than having a tooth extracted. In the interim period you will be provided with an esthetic provisional restoration.

Many implant procedures require a second stage; this ensures true osseointegration has occurred. Carried out under local anesthesia the buried implant is uncovered and, after a few days impressions are taken for the permanent crown. At your next visit the provisional restoration ( if used ) is removed and your custom made crown or bridge is tried in. The fit is checked by radiograph. If you approve of the colour, shape and appearance your dentist will cement or screw it into the implant.

Dental Implants

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