What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a screwlike anchor that is used as an artificial replacement for natural tooth roots. Like teeth, they set into the jaw and fuse with the bone, keeping them firmly in place. They’re made of materials compatible with the human body and have many advantages:
- Completely natural appearance
- Ability to maintain bone mass – a quality that makes additional tooth loss far less likely.
Implants are made up of a titanium screw and a post that is covered with a crown, bridge or denture.We place the implant into the jawbone where it replaces a tooth’s root. All crowns are made in Australia out of Zirconia ( a very strong white ceramic material) with the porcelain layered over the surface. Zirconia- Porcelain crowns are the top end option for both aesthetics and teeth.
After several months, the implant attaches to the bone and looks and behaves just like a natural tooth, or teeth. Today’s implants support a range of replacements, from a single tooth to several, and partial or full dentures.
Their durable strength makes it possible to use them to replace as few or as many teeth as necessary. A full denture can be replaced with as little as four implants.
Unlike dentures, implants and their crowns remain inside the mouth and don’t require adhesives to hold them in place. It’s as if they’ve become a permanent piece of an entirely new smile.
Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Almost anyone can have a dental implant. If you have missing teeth and prefer a replacement option that benefits your neighbouring teeth, then dental implants are usually the best choice. Because they stand independently of your other teeth, there’s no need to alter or reshape healthy tooth enamel (such as when a bridge needs to be anchored in place.) Implants can also be used in pairs, for larger areas of bite reconstruction.
At Waverley Park Dental Care we offer OBLIGATION FREE consultations for patients interested in dental implants, where we will conduct a brief examination of the mouth, discuss options and provide quotes for the options discussed. The ideal implant candidate will have healthy bone and gum tissues. If you have good oral hygiene and see a dentist regularly, you’re likely an ideal candidate!
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Dental implants allow unmatched chewing efficiency over all other prosthetic replacements and also last longer than any alternative. When teeth are lost, there is a slow but progressive loss of jaw bone in the area. Options like dentures accelerate that bone loss but implants have the opposite effect. They reduce the loss of bone by returning some of the physiologic stimulus that the original tooth was offering to the bone. For this reason, it is recommended that dental implants be placed as soon after tooth extraction as possible ( after the initial 4 month healing period).
What happens if I don’t have enough bone for dental implants?
In some situations, the volume of bone may not be sufficient to achieve the best possible result with dental implants. This may be because the tooth was lost many years before implant treatment was started ,there may have been a dental infection which has eroded the bone or simply due to the normal anatomy of a person’s jaw. There are almost no cases where we cannot rebuild the required bone with minimally invasive grafting techniques. A 3 D radiograph and a consultation is all we need to determine what is required to achieve the best possible solution.
What if I lost my tooth/ teeth a long time ago? Can I still have dental implants?
Yes, you can still have dental implants. In some cases, the bone volume will have shrank to the point where implants alone are not possible. In the vast majority of these cases, a bone graft procedure is all that is needed at the same time as placing the implant or before the implant can be placed.
Can I have dental implants if I am a smoker?
Smoking is the biggest risk factor for dental treatment. Most complications like infection or early implant failure are caused by smoking, though the rate is still low. We encourage anyone who is interested in implants, but who also smokes, to quit or at least reduce before commencing implant treatment. Some bone graft procedures are very sensitive to smoking and simply cannot be carried out in smokers. If you need one of these bone graft procedures in order to have your implants, and you are a heavy smoker, you will need to fully quit smoking for 3 months before the procedure can be carried out safely.
How much do dental implants cost?
The cost of replacing a tooth with a dental implant can vary significantly based on whether the tooth which needs to be replaced is still in the mouth, how much bone is available in the area where the implant is needed, how many teeth need to be replaced and what kind of prosthesis the teeth need to be replaced with. In general, a single implant will cost around $ 4000 but the price per tooth can change significantly if multiple teeth are being replaced.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants have a better long term prognosis than any other dental treatment. The dental implant itself ( the titanium screw) can last for several decades in the right conditions. While dental implants cannot decay like natural teeth, they can be affected by gum disease the same way teeth can. Routine maintenance is needed to prevent gum disease around an implant. If gum disease is allowed to progress unchecked around the implant, it may result in failure of the implant. Gum disease is really the only way an implant can fail. The implant crown, which is fitted on the implant and which you see in the mouth and use to chew, will not last as long as the implant itself. The crown is exposed to the forces of chewing and we estimate it will need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years.
Do dental implants feel like natural teeth?
No replacement of a tooth or teeth can offer the same natural sensation which we get from real teeth. In fact, you will not get nay sensation from chewing on an implant crown and it is the lack of sensation which is unnatural. This effect is not noticeable if only a few teeth are replaced with implants but more noticeable when a full arch is replaced. The more natural teeth you have the more natural the chewing experience. The experience of functioning with an implant prosthesis is still far more natural and comfortable than with a denture.
How long does dental implant treatment take?
Dental implant treatment duration can vary significantly case to case. It may be as little as a few days or a week or can even last longer than a year depending on the treatment needed, how many teeth are being replaced , if there is sufficient jaw bone to begin with, etc. On average, a case will need 4 months from start to finish.
Do dental implants need maintenance?
Yes, in order to keep an implant long term, simple daily maintenance is needed in the form of brushing and, more importantly, flossing. Implants cannot decay but they can be affected by gum disease. The only way to prevent this is to keep the gumline clean. Your dental implants will also be monitored at your 6 monthly exam and clean to ensure you are cleaning them well enough. A small radiograph may be taken once a year during your check up.