Information – Dental Implants

Dental Implants are special posts which are surgically placed into the jawbone to replace missing teeth or to support a denture.

The dental implant functions as the root of a tooth and, depending on the number of implants placed, it can be used to replace everything from a single tooth to a full jaw of teeth. It takes an average of 3-6 months for the jawbone to integrate with the dental implant before it can be used to support a dental restoration.

There are many benefits to having an implant placed.

A missing tooth can be replaced without cutting down the adjacent healthy teeth as is required when placing a bridge. Implants allow the dentist to replace missing teeth even when a bridge is not an option. Dental implants can provide a more stable base for a denture, particularly in the lower jaw. Also, dental implants help to preserve and maintain healthy jawbone in the area of the missing tooth or teeth. With proper home care and maintenance, dental implants can restore your smile and chewing ability for a lifetime.

The Procedure

In most instances, the Dental Implant procedure is simpler than the tooth extraction, involving local anaesthetic prior to making a hole into the jaw bone to place the Dental Implant into position. In order for your body to heal well, you should minimise your activity for a period of time after having a Dental implant placed.

Your dentist will recommend the appropriate time period for healing and bone osseointegration. As your body heals, the bone will integrate onto the surface of the Dental Implant. Until the Dental Implant is integrated some 3 months later, there is a risk that certain activities can disturb the healing and result in loosening and loss of the Dental Implant.

Before Dental Implant
After Dental Implant - Crown is inserted

The Cost

We will give you an outline of the estimated cost of your Dental Implant. In the case of Dental Implants, you will be quoted a two-stage costing: The First Stage being the dental implant placement, and the Second Stage the restoration of the crown on the dental implant some 3 months later.  Throughout the Dental Implant Procedure, we may need to alter the extent of the treatment, dependent on difficulty and technique required, and until such time the estimate of the cost is an estimate only.  Following your Dental Implant Procedure there may be other relevant costs dependent on the outcome such as complications requiring hospitalisation with referral to an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon (at additional expense), cost of the replacement of the Dental Implant should there be a complication, and other costs such as gum surgery, and reviews.

Alternative Treatments

Bridges, dentures or partial dentures can replace missing teeth without requiring Dental Implants. The missing tooth or teeth can also be left without replacement, eg. Leave a gap.  This, however, can lead to other problems such as an unstable bite or unwanted movement of the surrounding teeth.

Abnormal Outcomes and Risks

There is always a small chance that the dental implant will fail to integrate with the jawbone and have to be removed. In this instance, a new implant fixture will often be placed with a delay for bone healing.  Certain medical conditions can put you at a higher risk for dental implant failure. As with any surgery, there is a potential risk of surgical complications when placing a dental implant.

Improperly positioned dental implants can make it difficult–if not impossible–to place a useful dental restoration in the mouth.

Surgical risks also include: bleeding, pain and discomfort, bruising and swelling, temporary numbness, permanent numbness, damage to adjacent teeth, gums and bone.

Dental Implant supported restorations do not have the same feeling as a normal tooth and it is possible to put too much pressure on them when chewing, leading to damage of the implant restoration or opposing tooth.

If you have a misaligned bite, the restorations placed on the dental implants will be at greater risk for fracture or failure. Proper alignment of the teeth prior to dental implant placement leads to a more aesthetic result. Bite and tooth alignment problems should be addressed prior to dental implant placement. Eating excessively hard foods can lead to increased soreness under the conventional denture and possible fracture of teeth or fixture parts

Gum Disease can occur around Dental Implants, just like teeth, and may require treatments such as cleaning, surgery or even removal of the Dental Implant.  The cost involved is at the expense of the patient.

Dental Implants will look similar to the adjacent teeth, but there will be some variation in their appearance. After removing a tooth the gums may shrink, and therefore a dental implant tooth may be longer in the gums. The crown may also be a slightly different shape and colour to the adjacent teeth. Your appearance may be changed in terms of tooth contour and position and lip support. Appearance and speech changes are more likely with upper implants since it is necessary to leave the implant posts exposed for proper oral hygiene.

Fracture of abutment screws, the implant , the abutment and the crown can rarely happen. This could lead to the need to remove a fixture and have a different crown constructed at your expense.  The screws attaching the prosthesis to the fixture may loosen with time. They will need to be tightened if this occurs. This will sometimes require remaking your crowns at your expense.

If the jaw joints or facial muscles are overloaded from excessively hard foods or you clench or grind your teeth, you may experience some jaw joint and facial muscular discomfort.

Referral Offered

Our practice is committed to providing the best dental care.  Sometimes after assessing a tooth or the mouth, we find complexities or treatment difficulties that will need to be assessed and treated by Referral to a Dental Specialist.  Upon referral, your Dental Specialist will provide you with independent financial cost estimates and invoices for treatment.

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