What are dental implants?
Dental implants are the gold standard treatment to replace a missing tooth or a series of missing teeth. They are an alternative to a bridge or a fixed denture.
Adult teeth may be lost in any number of ways, including accidental trauma, infection or poor health of the surrounding gums. Replacing a tooth (or a series of teeth) that has been lost may have significant long-term functional benefits in terms of chewing, speaking clearly and maintaining good jaw health. From an aesthetic perspective, replacing missing teeth can improve the look of your smile by filling spaces. A dental implant is a titanium screw that is surgically inserted into the jaw bone.
Over time, the screw fuses with the underlying bone and behaves like the root of a natural tooth. A single dental implant can be used to support a porcelain crown, or multiple dental implants can support a bridge or a denture.
A dental implant is the best solution for replacing a missing tooth (or a series of teeth). This is because dental implants emulate natural form and function such that treatment cannot be detected. Obviously a dental implant does not need to be removed for cleaning and maintenance, making it a convenient tooth replacement solution.
Are dental implants suitable for you?
Dental implants are a solution to replace missing teeth while blending seamlessly with the surrounding natural teeth.
Implants are most suitable when there is adequate bone density in the underlying jaw to support them securely; otherwise, bone grafting surgery may be required to correct any deficiency.
Because dental implants offer control over length, width, alignment and shade of the replacement teeth, this option is generally recommended when aesthetics are a priority.
Dental implants may be unsuitable for patients with diabetes, or where the implant would likely contact the sinuses, or (as mentioned) in cases of inadequate bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis). An oral & maxillofacial surgeon can generally assess all of these risks and advise on suitability.
Because of the surgical and technical complexity involved, dental implants are the most expensive tooth replacement option, so they may be unsuitable for patients who are price sensitive. For the same reason, we recommend seeking treatment only by a registered oral & maxillofacial surgeon such as those practising at our partnering Collins Street Specialist Centre.
What’s the procedure for treatment?
Treatment with a single dental implant involves:
- A thorough investigation of your medical and dental health, assessment of bone density and the sinuses.
- Preparation of the area where the tooth is missing, followed by treatment of the surrounding gums to check that they are healthy.
- Placement of the titanium screw, over which the gum is generally allowed to heal for approximately two to three months.
- Surgical exposure of the implant and placement of a healing cap.
- The taking of impressions. At Core Dental we send these to a quality Melbourne laboratory to act as the blueprint for your dental crown, which is created by hand.
- Approximately two weeks later, removal of the healing cap and replacement with your new dental crown.
Over time, your dental implant will fuse with the surrounding bone, acting much like the root of a natural tooth.