DENTAL IMPLANTS FOR EVERYONE
The loss of a tooth can be a source of concern, especially if the tooth is in the esthetic area! As clinicians we like to offer acceptable solutions to replace missing teeth. A dental implant is indicated when neighbouring teeth are healthy, and we are loath to cut them down for a bridge, for example.
Single or multiple teeth can be replaced predictably due to significant progress in research of dental implant materials. Implants are manufactured from titanium and designs and surfaces vary greatly.
Modern dental implants make use of osseointegration, the biologic process where bone fuses tightly to the surface of specific materials such as titanium. The integration of implant and bone can support physical loads for decades without failure.
For individual tooth replacement, an implant abutment is first secured to the implant with an abutment screw. A crown (the dental prosthesis) is then connected to the abutment with dental cement, a small screw, or fused with the abutment as one piece during fabrication. Dental implants, in the same way, can also be used to retain a multiple tooth dental prosthesis either in the form of a fixed bridge or removable dentures.
An implant supported bridge (or fixed denture) is a group of teeth secured to dental implants so the prosthetic cannot be removed by the user. Bridges typically connect to more than one implant and may also connect to teeth as anchor points. Typically the number of teeth will outnumber the anchor points with the teeth that are directly over the implants referred to as abutments and those between abutments referred to as pontics. Implant supported bridges attach to implant abutments in the same way as a single tooth implant replacement. A fixed bridge may replace as few as two teeth (also known as a fixed partial denture) and may extend to replace an entire arch of teeth (also known as a fixed full denture). In both cases, the prosthesis is said to be fixed because it cannot be removed by the denture wearer.
A removable implant supported denture (also an implant supported overdenture) is a type of dental prosthesis which is not permanently fixed in place. The dental prosthesis can be disconnected from the implant abutments with finger pressure by the wearer. To enable this, the abutment is shaped as a small connector (a button, ball, bar or magnet) which can be connected to analogous adapters in the underside of the dental prosthesis.
For implants to be successful we need to have adequate bone to hold the implants in place. In cases where teeth have been missing for a long-time bone levels may be reduced, preventing the placement of implants. This need not prevent or exclude you from having implants because bone can actually be gained by using bone grafting techniques like sinus elevations or socket grafts.
Bone grafting has several advantages when using implants, the main one being that implants of adequate size and dimension can be placed ideally to carry the occlusal load. Another is that the soft tissue(gums) are repositioned where they should be. This allows your implant dentist to create an esthetic smile.
Here at Glint we take the time to assess all your implant needs, including the smile design, implant load distribution and available bone and gum. We may use additional diagnostic tools like CT scans to help us assess your case. It is with all these aspects in mind that we can deliver successful and predictable dental implant treatment outcomes.
As far as implant treatment prices go, each case is individual and needs to be planned to your specific needs. After an initial consultation your dentist will be able to give you an indication of what is required, and if needed a final treatment plan and cost can be given after all the diagnostic information has been assessed. Payment is done in stages over the course of the treatment, making it more affordable. For advanced cases finance can be obtained.
Dental implant therapy has been around for many years with a proven track record. Improvements in materials and surgical techniques have made dental implants the gold -standard treatment in many instances for the replacement of missing teeth.
WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
A dental implant essentially substitutes for a missing tooth root. It is commonly cylindrical or screw-shaped. Each implant is carefully and precisely drilled into the location of the intended tooth and provides a foundation for long-term support of replacement teeth.
Almost all dental implants in use today are made from titanium or titanium alloy. These materials have been shown to be well tolerated by bone. The terms ‘osseointegrated implants’ and ‘endosseous implants’ are widely used to describe dental implants that can develop and maintain a close union with bone in order to support replacement teeth.
WHO IS A SUITABLE CANDIDATE FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple missing teeth or to replace teeth in cases with complete tooth loss. Therefore, almost any situation can potentially be treated with this modality. However, various factors need to be taken into consideration such as bone volume and quality, tooth and jaw relationships, oral habits and general medical health. Your dental surgeon will assess your suitability for treatment with these implants.
HOW IS TREATMENT CARRIED OUT?
Phase 1: Treatment Planning – Thorough assessment of your medical health, oral health, the way your teeth fit together and bone volume will be performed to produce an individualised treatment plan.
Phase 2: Surgical Treatment – A minor surgical procedure is carried out to place titanium fixtures into bone. If bone and/or soft tissue are insufficient, there may also be a need for additional bone or soft tissue grafting procedures.
Phase 3: Restorative Treatment – After integration of the implant fixtures to the bone, ‘new permanent teeth’ will be designed and fabricated to fit over the dental implants.
HOW LONG DOES THE TREATMENT TAKE TO COMPLETE?
It normally takes about four months to a year to complete the entire treatment. This would depend on case complexity as well as the need for additional procedures like bone grafting. ‘Immediate loading’ implant, where the entire implant treatment is completed within the same day, is possible for a few selected cases.
HOW DO I MAINTAIN THESE IMPLANTS?
These ‘new teeth’ are maintained in much the same way as normal teeth. Specific brushing and flossing techniques will be taught, as well as regular dental checks on the implants. Good oral hygiene is required to ensure the long-term success of your implants.
HOW LONG WILL THE IMPLANT FIXTURES STAY IN THE BONE?
If the titanium fixtures have successfully integrated to the bone and are properly maintained, they should last for many years. However, just as you would expect conventional crowns, bridges and fillings to need occasional repairs or replacements during the course of their lifetime, your implant-supported teeth may also need similar maintenance.