What is a dental implant treatment?
A dental implant (endosseous implants) procedure is a surgical procedure in which a metal post, typically made of titanium, is surgically placed into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over the course of several months.
Once the implant has fused with the bone, a crown, bridge, or denture can be attached to the implant, providing a stable and long-lasting artificial tooth to replace a missing tooth or teeth.
Who is qualified to perform implant dentistry?
The procedure is typically performed by an oral surgeon or implant dentists. While there are no restrictions on general dentists placing implants, we recommend that patients ask their dentists about their further qualifications in implant dentistry and oral surgery.
Who might need dental implants
Dental implants are recommended for people who have lost tooth or multiple teeth due to injury, gum disease, previous dental treatment or other causes.
A missing tooth or teeth don't just often make people feel self conscious, they can also lead to bone loss and gum tissue over time. Your implant dentist may be able to help with a single tooth implant or replace several teeth with a fixed bridge or denture.
Using dental implants to replace missing teeth or a damaged tooth is an effective way of improving self confidence and recreating a natural smile.
Implants are typically recommended for people who have good oral health and sufficient bone density in their jaw to support the implant.
Dental implants may not be suitable for people with certain medical conditions or for those who have certain habits (such as smoking) that could affect the success of the implant.
What are the stages in getting dental implants?
The process of getting a dental implant typically involves several stages, including:
During this initial stage, your implant dentist will assess your oral health and medical history and determine whether you are a good candidate for a dental implant. They will also discuss the procedure with you in detail, including any potential risks and benefits, and help you develop a treatment plan.
If you are deemed a good candidate for a dental implant, your dentist or oral surgeon will begin the preparation process. This may involve taking x-rays or other diagnostic images to determine the size and location of the implant, as well as any other preparatory steps that may be necessary.
During the surgical stage, the dental implant will be placed into the jawbone. This is typically done under local anaesthesia, although you may be given a sedative to help you relax. The surgery typically takes one to two hours, depending on the number of implants being placed. The highest levels of infection control are performed by the dental team during the procedure to minimise surgical risks.
4) Healing process:
After the surgery, the implant will need time to fuse with the bone. This process, called osseointegration, usually takes a few months. During this time, you will need to follow your dentists instructions for caring for the implant site and maintaining good oral health.
Once the implant has fully fused with the bone, your dentist or oral surgeon will attach the your new tooth -a permanent crown, bridge, or denture to the implant. This typically involves one or more additional visits.
It's important to note that the actual timeline for getting a dental implant can vary depending on individual factors such as the requirements for tooth extraction, bone graft and gum grafting.
What to expect after a dental implant procedure
After a dental implant procedure, you can expect to experience some swelling and discomfort for the first few days. Your implant dentist will provide you with instructions for managing any pain or discomfort you may have. It's important to follow these instructions closely to ensure a smooth and successful recovery.
You may also be prescribed antibiotics to help prevent infection, and you'll need to take care to maintain good oral hygiene to ensure the implant site heals properly. This may involve using a special mouthwash and brushing your teeth more carefully than usual.
Most people are able to return to their normal activities within a few days. However, it's important to avoid strenuous activities and not to eat hard foods for the first few days to allow the implant site to heal properly.
It's also important to keep all follow-up appointments with your dentist, as they will need to check on the progress of the implant and ensure that it is healing properly.
Benefits and risks of dental implants
Some of the benefits of a dental implant include:
1) Improved appearance:
Dental implants look and function like natural teeth, so they can help you feel more confident about your appearance.
2) Improved speech:
Missing teeth can affect your speech, but dental implants can help restore normal speech patterns.
3) Improved oral health:
Dental implants do not require the surrounding teeth to be altered, as is sometimes necessary with a bridge. This can help preserve the health of your remaining teeth.
4) Improved comfort:
Because dental implants are designed to function like normal teeth, they can be more comfortable than other tooth replacement options like removable dentures.
With proper care, dental implants can last for many years. In some cases, they may last a lifetime.
Some of the risks of a dental implant treatment include:
There is a risk of infection at the dental implant surgical site. This risk can be minimised by taking care to maintain good oral hygiene and by following your dentist or oral surgeon's instructions for caring for the implant site.
2) Nerve damage:
In rare cases, the dental implant surgery may damage a nerve, resulting in transient or permanent numbness or tingling in the lips, chin, or tongue. This risk is highest when placing dental implants in the lower jaw bone.
3) Sinus problems:
If you are getting a dental implant in the upper jaw, there is a risk of puncturing the sinus cavity. This risk can be minimised by using advanced imaging techniques to accurately place the implant.
In some areas of the mouth, there are significant blood vessels which will be close to the minor operation site.
5) Implant failure:
While dental implants have a high success rate, there is a risk that the implant may fail to integrate with the bone or may be rejected by the body. In most cases, the implant can be removed and the site allowed to heal before trying again.
It's important to discuss the benefits and risks of dental implants with your dentist to determine if they are the right choice for you.
What do dental implants cost
The cost of dental implants can vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- The type of implant being used;
- The number of implants being placed;
- The location of the implant in the mouth;
- The need for any preparatory procedures (such as tooth extractions);
- The type of replacement teeth being used (crown, bridge, or denture);
- The experience and training of the dentist.
On average, the cost of a single dental implant and accompanying dental crown can range from $5500 to $6500. However, the total cost of the procedure can be much higher if multiple implants are needed or if additional procedures (such as bone grafting) are required.
Many dental insurance plans do not cover the full cost of dental implants, although some may cover a portion of the cost. It's a good idea to discuss the costs of dental implants with your dentist and to ask about any financing options that may be available.
What are the alternatives to dental implants
There are several alternatives to dental implants that can be used to replace missing teeth, including:
1) Dental Bridges:
A dental bridge is a fixed appliance that consists of one or more false teeth (called pontics) supported by crowns on either side. The crowns are placed on the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth or teeth, and the pontics are suspended in the space left by the missing teeth. Bridges can be made of a variety of materials, including porcelain, gold, or a combination of materials.
2) Partial dentures:
A partial denture is a removable appliance that consists of one or more false teeth supported by a framework of acrylic or metal. The denture is held in place by the remaining real teeth and gums.
3) Complete dentures:
A complete denture is a removable appliance that replaces all of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Complete dentures are made of acrylic and are held in place by suction and the natural contours of the mouth.
4) Resin-bonded bridge:
A resin-bonded bridge (also called a Maryland bridge) is a fixed appliance that consists of one or more false teeth supported by a metal or ceramic framework. The framework is bonded to the backs of the adjacent natural teeth using resin, rather than being supported by crowns.
Each of these alternatives to dental implants has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the best option for you will depend on your individual circumstances.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants are designed to be long-lasting, and with proper care, they can last for many years.
In some cases, dental implants may last a lifetime. However, the actual lifespan of a dental implant can vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- The quality of the implant and the materials used;
- The oral hygiene of the patient;
- The patient's overall health;
- The presence of any underlying conditions that could affect the success of the implant.
It's important to follow your implant dentist's instructions for caring for your dental implant, and to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. This can help ensure the long-term success of your implant.
It's also important to be aware that dental implants can be damaged or lost due to trauma or other factors. If you experience any problems with your dental implant, it's important to contact your dentist as soon as possible to address the issue.
At Sydney Smile Doctor, we are proud to have helped many patients to smile again with dental implants. Contact our Sydney dental team today to see if tooth implants might be right for you.