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Dental Implants

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a tooth root analogue (replica). It is an artificial tooth root made of surgical grade titanium, which is placed into the jaw onto which crowns and bridgework can be constructed. Dental implants can in many cases be the preferred treatment to replace a tooth or teeth lost following an injury or through periodontal disease. Dental implants have numerous possible applications in dentistry e.g:

  • To replace a single or multiple teeth without affecting adjacent teeth
  • To support bridgework or replace a partial denture
  • To help support or secure upper or lower dentures

Dental implants are a natural-looking tooth replacement option. They can provide you with increased freedom and confidence by restoring that unsightly gap in your smile or that denture which never stays in one place, making eating difficult. In many cases dental implant teeth can be made to look and feel like your own teeth. Under the right conditions and with the appropriate maintenance dental implants can last a lifetime. Ongoing long-term studies show that dental implant treatments generally exhibit predictable and excellent success rates.

Comparison of the anatomy of a tooth relative to a dental implant.

The dental implant has a crown and a tooth root component in a similar way that a tooth consists of a crown and root.

                      

Am I a candidate for Dental Implants?

Generally, you need to be in good general health as well as having a healthy mouth. Dental implants are reliant on adequate jaw bone to allow placement and for good retention of the dental implant. It is important that, if you are considering dental implant treatment,  there is no active periodontal (gum) infection present in you mouth as this can have a negative effect on your dental implant treatment.

Dental implants are intimately related to the jaw bone and overlying gum tissues. As periodontists are dental specialists with expertise in these fields, it makes good sense that you see a periodontist for the surgical portion of your dental implant treatment. Your dentist, periodontist and dental laboratory work closely as a team to put together your dental implant treatment from the initial consultation appointment through to the placement of the final implant crown.

Additional Procedures in Implant Dentistry:

Ridge (Graft) Augmentation:

Defects in the upper and lower jaw bone may result following the loss of teeth, trauma or infection. Such damage to the jaw bone may leave inadequate bone into which to place dental implants. To overcome this problem it is possible to lift back a portion of the gum and place bone graft or a bone substitute to build up the jaw and regenerate some of the lost bone.

This can be undertaken as a separate procedure or, in some cases, in conjunction with the dental implant placement depending on your circumstances. Ridge augmentation techniques help to enhance appearance and increase your chances for long term success of your dental implant. Such surgical techniques are intricate and technique-sensitive and as such require specialist care.

Sinus (Graft) Augmentation:

In many cases loss of the upper molar teeth can be compromised by poor bone quality and quantity. The key to successful implant treatment is adequate bone quantity and quality. The back part of the upper jaw is also an area into which a portion of the sinus cavity can be found.

This creates difficulties for implant placement unless sinus augmentation is undertaken. Sinus (grafting) augmentation is a specialized surgical technique in which the sinus floor is gently raised to develop bone and allow for more ideal dental implant placement.

Follow-up care:

Just like your teeth, dental implants require careful and thorough cleaning (oral hygiene) at home on daily basis and regular dental check-ups. Dental implants are very much like your natural teeth and will require similar care both at home and at the dentist.

The right brushing technique, flossing and keeping the plaque levels in the mouth to a minimum are all-important for the long-term health of your new dental implant.

Following the completion of your dental implant treatment, your periodontist and dentist will collectively develop the best maintenance program for you. Follow-up appointments are necessary to monitor the health of the bone and gum around the implant tooth as well as your overall gum health.

Dental hygienist play a vital role in maintaining the health of your implants by cleaning difficult to reach sites and coaching on the best methods and devices to keep healthy at home

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