Missing Teeth can compromise your health, eating habits, speech and appearance. Replacing missing teeth maintains the integrity of your facial structure and reduces the risk that the bone surrounding the previous tooth root will deteriorate or melt away.
The preferred method of tooth replacement is dental implant treatment. Dental implants look, feel and function like your natural teeth.A dental implant is a small metal screw which is placed in the upper or lower jaw where natural
teeth have been lost. They function like a natural tooth root.
Implants are made from titanium. This is because, living bone will bond permanently to titanium and your system will not reject your implant like other foreign bodies.
Implants can be used to :
- Replace a single tooth.
- Support a bridge to replace several missing teeth.
- Support a bridge when all teeth are missing.
- Provide secure fixation for a removable denture.
In cases where several or all teeth are being replaced, it is not necessary to have an implant for each missing tooth. Commonly 5-6 implants can be used to replace 10-12 teeth.
Although dental implants are a common procedure, they do require specialized training by your dental professional. Your family dentist may require that you see a specialized oral surgeon for some parts of the procedure.
A careful assessment is made of the jawbone and missing teeth using x-rays. This stage allows your dentists to determine your candidacy for implants and which type of implant is most beneficial for your specific condition. Dental molds (models) will be made to determine the idea position and type of implant.
A minor operation is performed to place the implant into the jawbone. The gum is then stitched around the implant. A this stage the implant is level with the surface of the gum and can not be seen. This surgery may be done with either a local or general anaesthetic. A healing period of between 6 & 12 weeks is generally required prior to proceeding to the third step. You may experience some initial swelling or discolouration of the gums. Your dentist may provide you with medications or instructions for your gum care.
A titanium abutment (extension post) is screwed into each implant. This process can normally be done on an outpatient basis as oral surgery is not required. At this stage additional impressions may be taken for the final replacement teeth and a temporary tooth or bridge may be fitted.
Your dentist may also have special cleaning or other instructions for your to follow for proper maintenance of your abutments.
The completed teeth are connected to the implants providing a secure, stable and natural looking replacement for the teeth that have been lost. You begin to care for your implants as if they were your natural teeth. Your dentist will probably schedule follow up appointments to assure that your implants are fitting properly. If you experience any pain or your bite is loose or weak, let your dentist know immediately.
Am I a Candidate?
In general, candidacy requires :
- Good general health.
- A healthy jaw bone &
- Good oral habits so that the possibility of post-surgical complications is reduced.
Some health conditions can reduce your chances of being a good candidate. These include:
- Existing dental problems.
- Bone disorders.
- Smoking & use of alcohol.
Benefits & Risks
The greatest benefit of implants is that they look and fell like natural teeth. Unlike other tooth replacement procedures, implants allow you to eat, talk and laugh with confidence.
Other benefits include:
Healthy teeth are not destroyed or ground down.Implants do not require clasps secured to healthy Teeth.Can be used regardless of the quantity & structure of remaining teeth.
Denture patients will benefit with:
Confidence in knowing your denture are secure.Improved speech and denture comfort.Improved biting pressure which also improves diet, overall health and allows you to eat any food with confidence.No need for denture adhesives. There are very few risks associated with implants, Generally any complications are rare and correctable. However, implants do require oral surgery and so there is a risk of infection or complications arising from medications.
In addition there is the possibility of damage to nearby muscles, nerves or sinus cavity.Before deciding on any oral surgery, discuss the risks for your specific condition with your doctor.
Implants look and feel like natural teeth. They allow you to eat, talk and laugh with confidence.