Dental implants are reliable, safe alternative for replacing missing teeth, to improve function and appearance.
An implant is a strong, titanium root replacement. When placed in the missing site, it is designed to fuse with the bone in a process called Osseo-integration. The bone cells in the site of the missing tooth adhere to the surface of the implant, to be strong enough to support very high chewing forces. The procedure is a key hole procedure, and usually under a local anaesthetic. Most patients are able to return to normal duties within a couple of days.
Implants are the latest in the dental industry for replacing and supporting teeth. They provide a strong foundation for teeth replacement that are made to match your natural teeth.
Dental implants are surgically placed in your jawbone, where they serve as the roots of missing teeth. Because the titanium in the implants fuses with your jawbone, the implants won’t slip, make noise or cause bone damage the way fixed bridgework or dentures might. And the materials can’t decay like your own teeth that support regular bridgework can.
In general, dental implants may be right for you if you:
- Have one or more missing teeth
- Have a jawbone that’s reached full growth
- Have adequate bone to secure the implants or are able to have a bone graft
- Have healthy oral tissues
- Don’t have health conditions that will affect bone healing
- Are unable or unwilling to wear dentures
- Want to improve your speech
- Are willing to commit several months to the process
Dental Implant Risks:
Like any surgery, dental implant surgery poses some health risks. Problems are rare, though, and when they do occur they’re usually minor and easily treated. Risks include:
- Infection at the implant site
- Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels
- Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin
- Sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities
How to prepare for a dental implant:
Because dental implants require one or more surgical procedures, you must have a thorough evaluation to prepare for the process, including a comprehensive dental exam.
Comprehensive dental exam
You may have dental X-rays taken and models made of your teeth and mouth.
Tailored to your situation, this plan takes into account factors such as how many teeth you need replaced and the condition of your jawbone. The planning process may involve a variety of dental specialists, including a doctor who specializes in conditions of the mouth, jaw and face (oral and maxillofacial surgeon) and a dentist who works with the structures that support teeth (periodontist).
Tell your doctor about any medical conditions and any medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements. If you have certain heart conditions or orthopedic implants, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics before surgery to help prevent infection.
To control pain, local anesthetic is given during surgery.
What you can expect
Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient surgery performed in stages:
- Your damaged tooth is removed.
- Your jawbone is prepared for surgery, a process that may involve bone grafting.
- After your jawbone heals, your oral surgeon places the dental implant metal post in your jawbone.
- You go through a healing period that may last several months.
- Your oral surgeon places the abutment — an extension of the implant metal post — followed by your new artificial tooth (crown).
The entire process can take — three to nine months from start to finish. Much of that time is devoted to healing and waiting for the growth of new bone in your jaw.
Most dental implants are successful. Sometimes, however, the bone fails to fuse sufficiently to the metal implant. Smoking, for example, can contribute to implant failure and complications.
If the bone fails to fuse sufficiently, the implant is removed, the bone is cleaned up, and you can try the procedure again in a month or two.
You can help your dental work — and remaining natural teeth — last longer if you:
- Practice excellent oral hygiene. Just as with your natural teeth, you must keep implants, artificial teeth and gum tissue clean. Specially designed brushes, such as an interdental brush that slides between teeth, can help clean the nooks and crannies around teeth, gums and metal posts.
- See your dentist regularly. Schedule dental check-ups every six months to one year to ensure the health and proper functioning of your implants.
- Avoid damaging habits. Don’t chew hard items, such as ice and hard candy, which can break your crowns.
About St George’s Dental
The dentists at St George’s Dental pride themselves in the highest level of patient care.
Our patients come from all around the local area for their dental treatments. If you live in the following areas – we would love to become your dentist.
Lower Plenty | Greensborough | Bellfield | Bundoora | Briar Hill | Eaglemont | Eltham North | Heidelberg | Heidelberg Heights | Heidelberg West | Ivanhoe | Ivanhoe East | Macleod | Montmorency | Rosanna | Viewbank | St Helena | Watsonia | Watsonia North | Yallambie