What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a prosthesis that is implanted into the jawbone to replace one or more missing teeth. Because missing teeth can not only make chewing difficult but may affect the way you smile, replacing missing teeth is essential. Dental implants are one of the best solutions to replace missing teeth because they are permanently anchored into the jaw bone, unlike dentures which may slip or bridges which may affect adjacent healthy teeth.
How are implants inserted?
Since the design and creation combine modern science and technology, dental implants are a team effort by dentists and dental technicians. An impression is used to make the model from which the dentures or dental crowns are created to fit your mouth and jaw.
At your first surgical appointment, the dental specialist will numb the area for your implant with local anaesthesia. The implant can be gently placed into the jawbone. We will then wait for healing. Healing may take approximately 6 weeks before the gum tissue is exposed to take a mould for the tooth to be made at the laboratory. A healing cap is fitted to allow the gum tissue to aid healing.
The tooth replacement is now made by the dental technicians. After 6 weeks of healing, the healing cap is removed and the tooth replacement or prosthetic - be it a crown, bridge or denture - is secured in place.
Bridges may require adjacent teeth to be cut down and shaped to fit the bridge, and do not last as long and thus will need to be replaced after some years. Removable partial dentures are also inconvenient and embarrassing if they slip out. For these reasons, Dr Chodree advises her patients to opt for a tooth replacement as the disadvantages of bridges and dentures outweigh those of an implant.
After you have had your dental implant inserted you will need to maintain diligent oral hygiene habits such as proper brushing, flossing and use of mouthwash to avoid infection. If ceramic dental implants are adequately cared for, they have a 98% success rate.
Advantages of dental implants
Dental implants offer a solution to missing teeth and can aid a person's self-confidence tremendously. Other than aesthetics, dental implants can make it easier to chew and talk. Crown implants offer a more permanent option which doesn't slip like partial removable dentures and enhance oral hygiene, unlike fixed bridges.
When compared to fixed bridges and removable partial dentures, crowns offer the following benefits:
1.Flawless Aesthetics: Since implants are placed in the gum the same way a natural tooth is, they offer a more realistic and natural than other alternatives.
2.Reduction of bone resorption: When a tooth is lost, the supporting bone structure gradually recedes. Placing an implant in that empty space significantly reduces the speed of bone resorption and provides stability for this valuable tissue
3.Retention: Dental implants offer significant improvement to the challenges of keeping a denture in place as the denture can be secured to a group of implants with special screws that stabilise it completely.
4.Preserving natural tooth structure: While bridges are often used for a solution to missing teeth, they require extra preparation often the destruction of existing tooth structure to create room for the new bridge. A crown dental implant, on the other hand, is mainly independent and does not negatively affect the adjacent teeth.
Using implants and all ceramic dental crowns provides a fixed prosthetic solution that is both functional and aesthetic in appearance to restore your smile to its natural and fully functional condition.
Single Aesthetic Implant
This young individual was in an accident which resulted in the loss of his front tooth. A single tooth implant is the best choice to replace this missing tooth. A bridge is not the best choice. The teeth on either side of the space do not have any fillings in them. Shaving these teeth down for the placement of a bridge would permanently damage them, and these teeth may require other treatment.
The final crown (cap) has been fabricated and cemented onto the post which is attached to the implant. A small bonded restoration was also placed on the other front tooth to provide a balanced aesthetic result. This implant supported crown provides a beautiful aesthetic replacement for the missing tooth.
This x-ray shows the implant positioned in the jaw bone. A post will be attached to the implant, upon which the final crown will be placed to replace the missing tooth.
Reconstruction with Multiple Implants
This individual has advanced deterioration of her oral health. We can see decay around some existing fillings, as well as wear of the remaining teeth.
The multiple missing teeth have been replaced with dental implants as seen in this xray. The remaining teeth have been restored with all ceramic crowns.
In this view we are looking at some natural teeth with crowns and some implants with crowns. With this aesthetic result, it is difficult to tell which crowns are supported by implants and which crowns are supported by natural teeth.
Using implants and all ceramic crowns provides a fixed prosthetic solution that is both functional and aesthetic in appearance. It's like having your natural teeth back!
Replacing missing teeth with a permanent solution