Frequently asked Questions about Dental Implants
Who is a candidate for Dental Implants?
When you have missing, broken, loose teeth or severe gum disease, Dental Implants are a possible solution. There are very few cases that implants are not suitable for, but caution is needed in some cases. Studies show that implant complications (failures) occur in higher amounts if you are a smoker or have uncontrolled diabetes.
The main determinant for Dental Implant Suitability is available bone. Because bone is lost when teeth are removed, and because Dental Implants need to be anchored into bone, bone loss is not ideal. Modern 3D scanning technology allows us to assess the jaw bone shape and size to measure suitability for Dental Implants. In cases where minimal bone is available, Dental Implants are still possible, but you first require a procedure to rebuild the lost bone. This is called bone grafting.
Will I have a tooth during Treatment?
You will never be without a front tooth during your treatment stages at Smile Artistry. Depending on the circumstances, bonded-fixed teeth may not be possible, and in these instances we construct highly aesthetic temporary teeth in thin clear trays like whitening trays or ultra-thin mouth-guards which can be worn for the duration of the dental implant healing period. These teeth are designed to put minimum pressure on the area of the dental implant which will aid in better healing. Should treatment be on a back tooth then we will often recommend leaving the space as a gap, but if this is a concern to you we will endeavour to have a temporary in place. In ideal circumstances we will Immediately Load your Dental Implants which means you will have temporary crowns placed on your Dental Implants at the time of the initial surgery.
What is the cost of Dental Implants?
Dental Implant Costs involve two stages. Firstly the Dental Implant is placed into the jaw bone. Secondly, after the Dental Implant and bone have healed and become solid in the bone, the top of the tooth, the Porcelain Crown, is constructed and inserted permanently.
So there are essentially two costs you need to know about for your Dental Implant. However there may also be additional costs where bone grafting is required to replace missing bone, and costs where temporary teeth need to be made to replace the missing teeth during the healing time for a few months. In more complex situations, a guide may need to be created, and this is also an additional cost.
What does the Dental Implant Procedure involve?
A Dental Implant Procedure is usually performed in the chair at your Dentist under local anaesthetic. This is because Dental Implant Procedures are similar to having a tooth extracted or root canal treatment, or in some cases this method is quicker and easier for the patient.
The Dental Implant procedure involves pre-op medication and antibiotics, local anaesthetic, drilling to create the space in the jaw bone, and placing the implant into the jaw. Digital x-rays will guide the positioning of your Dental Implant into the best position. A healing cover will be placed on the Dental Implant and an x-ray taken to check the final Dental Implant position. Your procedure for a single Dental Implant Placement will take less than one hour.
However, this is not always the case, and if you are on other medications or have major medical conditions, you may be referred for treatment with a General Anaesthetic.
How long does it take for my Dental Implant to heal?
The time for bone to strengthen around your Dental Implant after placement is determined mostly by the strength of the bone and the amount of load the Dental Implant will take when the tooth is inserted. In general, Dental Implants take between three and six months to heal before your Porcelain Tooth is placed. The lower jaw will heal quicker, and usual time is about three months, whereas the upper jaw heals slower due to being weaker bone and takes closer to six months. Bone Grafts and Tooth Extractions can also slow down the process and add extra weeks-months.
Is there a chance my Dental Implant will be rejected?
Dental Implants are made from titanium, and similar to joint replacements such as knees and hips, titanium is a biocompatible material. The contacting bone against an implant actually fuses to the titanium.
In statistics of cases, about 2 in 100 Dental Implants fail to integrate to the bone. This is not rejection by the body, but actually similar to a bony fracture where the Dental Implant is not secure enough and movement occurs. Micro-movement during the healing stage can affect the healing process of bone, in extreme cases this can upset the process entirely and scar tissue forms. If this is the case, after three months the x-ray will show a gap and the implant will usually come loose from the mouth. In these instances, the area is cleaned and a replacement implant is placed and a further healing period is required. A study of 100 recent Dental Implants performed at Smile Artistry reveals this instance occurred at 1 in 100 or 1%.
How do I choose an Implant Dentist?
Your Implant Dentist needs to be someone you trust to do the right thing by you. It is best that your General Dentist has a say in your Implant Dentist so that your continuing care in looking after your Dental Implant is convenient. We have found by providing General Dental and Implant Dental procedures is both convenient, practical and cost-effective.
There is no such speciality for Implant Dentistry as many different fields of dentistry are involved. Implant Dentistry requires a multi-faceted approach to ensure the final result is cosmetic, functional and healthy.
You may want to ask your Dentist about their experience in placing Dental Implants and what type of qualifications they have in the field. A Dentist placing Dental Implants should be a member of major Dental Implant Associations such as the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.
Your Dentist should be able to also produce before and after photos of multiple cases similar to your situation. This displays their experience in treating your situation and also gives you an idea of the expected outcome that should be achievable.