What are Dental Implants?
As you’re exploring your cosmetic dentistry options, one that you’ll hear about often is dental implants. But what are dental implants, exactly?
Dental implants are artificial teeth that become part of your mouth, very much like your natural teeth. Unlike dentures, you do not remove implants for cleaning or care. They look and function just like your other teeth, and also offer similar durability.
Each dental implant is comprised of two pieces: the artificial root, which is similar to a screw that’s embedded in your jawbone, and the crown, which is the tooth-like structure that will show when you smile.
When you undergo a dental implant procedure, your dentist will surgically place the screw in your jawbone, which will hold the crown in place. The screw is completely covered by the crown, which will be coloured to match the hue of your natural teeth.
Dental implants can replace 1 tooth or multiple teeth. You do not need 1 implant for every tooth. Many times you can have 2 implants replace 4 teeth or 4 implants can replace an entire jaw. This has the benefit of simplicity and cost saving.
Other benefits of dental implants are:
- They do not need to be removed so they are more convenient
- Most natural in appearance improving confidence
- Feels natural and allows for better eating
- Long lasting
- Conservative to nearby teeth(bridges and dentures can damage nearby teeth)
- Can be cheaper than bridges or dentures in the long run(since bridges and dentures may need replacing over time)
Whether you have one missing tooth or more, dental implants provide natural-looking consistency that will make you want to smile more often.
Dental implants are a common cosmetic procedure that takes place over the course of several visits. Your dentist will provide you with a personalised timeline and step-by-step expectations.
Here’s a closer look at our process:
Step One: Initial Assessment
We start each new dental implant journey with a patient consultation to make sure you understand your options and what the procedure will entail. We also want to make sure you’re a great candidate for dental implants.
The actual timeline depends on several factors, including the condition of your jawbone. When you decide to move forward, we approach each new procedure on a case-by-case basis.
In some cases, you may need bone grafting to support a successful dental implant. This is often the case when the jawbone is too soft or thin and may be unable to support the implant.
3D Xray of the site is taken
In order to place the implant a very careful assessment of the bone in 3-dimensions is completed. With this assessment we can see if there are nerves, arteries, other vital structures in the implant area. Your safety is an absolute priority so in order to prevent issues this is carefully assessed. We can then decide what size implant is suitable for you.
3D mould of your mouth is taken
The latest technology now allows us to scan your mouth with a very accurate 3-dimensional camera. There are no xrays with this scan. It simply allows us to form a 3D image of your mouth so that we can print out a surgical guide which is used in the actual surgery. These surgical guides are extremely accurate and allow for the safe placement of the implant. They control the depth and angle at which the implant is placed and so they reduce surgery time, are safer and allow for much higher success rates.
Step Two: Implant and Healing
Before new crowns can be placed, we insert artificial “roots” where your new teeth will be. These roots are placed in your jawbone through a surgical procedure. As your jawbone heals, the roots will be firmly held in place.
This is one reason dental implants are so powerful: they are very much like getting new, real teeth. Once healed, the titanium implants won’t make noise, slip, or cause bone damage.
A simple single implant can be placed within 15-20 minutes through keyhole surgery with no pain. You will be given anaesthetic so that there is no pain. If you choose we can also organise an anaesthetist to come in and put you to sleep throughout the entire procedure. This is known as “sleep dentistry”.
Sometimes you can get the tooth on the same day, sometimes we need to leave the implant there for 3 months to heal. In the meantime you can have a temporary plate made so that you can have a tooth and not an empty space.
Patients can expect some swelling and some soreness after an implant is placed. Most of the times patients have neither swelling or pain. We usually review patients the following day and 1 week later. The vast majority of patients do not have any issues and are very happy with the process, healing and lack of pain or discomfort.
Step Three: Wear Your Crown
The part of the implant that shows is called the crown. This is the final part of the dental implant procedure. We custom make each crown to fit snugly and attractively in the intended space in your mouth. We also colour-match the crown to your existing teeth for a consistent, natural look. This final tooth can be made on the same day or may need to be sent to the lab who will take 2-3 weeks.
There are many variables in dental implant placement. Each patient, each implant site is very different. Careful planning is required in order to successfully and safely place your implant. The materials used are of very high quality in order to achieve a safely placed, accurate and aesthetic implant.
In general, our Sydney Road Dental Care team recommends dental implants to replace missing teeth. However, are they the right option for you?
We understand that you have many options for cosmetic dentistry, and choosing one can be overwhelming. Rest assured, we’re here to help you explore all of your options so you can make the best decision for your smile, your budget, and your confidence.
Our patients are great candidates for dental implants if they:
- Have good overall health
- Have a sufficient jawbone or could develop a strong jawbone with bone grafting
- Have a fully developed jawbone (usually individuals age 18 or older)
- Do not have any pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from undergoing surgery
Prior to beginning a dental implant journey, we consult with each patient to ensure you’re a candidate for this procedure. We invite you to schedule a consultation so you can ask specific questions and learn more about dental implants.
All-on-4 implants solve many of the challenges associated with regular dentures. These implants also provide a full set of either upper or lower teeth. The main difference is that they’re a more permanent option because they’re implanted in your jawbone.
Similar to single dental implants, All-on-4 implants leverage metal, surgically inserted posts (four, to be exact) to hold the artificial teeth in place. But unlike single dental implants, All-on-4 implants do not need to be placed individually. You can get a full set of upper or lower teeth with just four implants.
For many of our patients, dental implants have been a life-changing experience. We’d love to give you a new reason to smile! Schedule a consultation today.
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