Dental Implants

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth. Implants and their attached crowns closely mimic the look and feel of natural teeth, thereby making an attractive alternative to dentures and bridges.

A dental implant is fabricated from a very strong, biocompatible material inserted via a relatively simple procedure. The bone grows to the implant and bonds to it, in a process called ‘osseointegration’. This makes the implant very strong.dental implants hornsby dentist

The great benefits of implants include:

  • Look and function most closely to natural teeth
  • Long lifespan if properly maintained
  • Do not compromise neighbouring teeth (as implants are stand alone, no reshaping/alteration of teeth required like that in bridgework)
  • A high success rate of over 96% (depending on health conditions and habits)

The procedure can be done under local anaesthetic or sedation. A medically graded titanium screw is placed into the bone, and left in place for the bone to integrate. Once the implant is securely fixed in place a crown is placed on top, filling that missing gap. The process is performed over 3-4 stages spanning between 6-12 months depending on complexity.

How long does it take?

It depends on the type of bone, and where the implant is placed into your jaw. It can range from a few months to over 9 months. Generally, implants in the:dental_implant hornsby dentist

  • Front lower jaw need around 4 months
  • Back upper jaw needs around 9 months
  • Elsewhere in the mouth around 6 months.

These times may need to be lengthened if bone needs to be grown or grafting has taken place.

If a tooth has been recently extracted, a healing period of up to 3 months may be required, before scans are taken to assess bone requirements.

Is everyone suitable?

Some patients may not be suitable for this procedure. Conditions such as:

  • alcoholism
  • some psychiatric disorders
  • uncontrolled diabetes

can cause problems.

Our dentist will also need to determine whether there is enough space and bone for the implant. If you don’t have enough bone, it is possible to grow bone or even graft bone from elsewhere in the mouth or places like your hip.

What are the advantages of the implant treatment?

The adjacent teeth are not damaged or cut in any way. It helps to prevent bone loss. Implants are also used to stabilise loose dentures or even replace them with fixed bridges.

What is the procedure for implant treatment?

The gum is folded back and the bone drilled to insert the implant, and can be done in the chair with local anaesthetic or you can go to the hospital for a general anaesthetic. A healing cap may then be placed over the implant to aid tissue adaption. Alternatively the implant may be covered over, requiring a second surgery to expose it. Once the implant has osseointergrated into the bone a crown can then be placed on the implant.

What is the success rate?

The success rate depends on where in the jaw the implants are placed. The lower jaw has a very good chance of success (98%). The further back in the mouth you go, the lesser the prognosis, but this is generally over 90%. If you smoke, the chances of success drop by at least 10%.

Why dental implants?

A dental implant is the closest thing to a natural tooth Dr Le can give you.

  • They feel much more natural
  • More secure than traditional removable dentures
  • They look more natural as they emerge out of the gum rather than looking like the tooth has been placed on top of the gum, where often a shadow can be seen underneath

If several adjacent teeth are missing, a fixed bridge may be attached to dental implants as an alternative to a removable denture. Dental implants allow for the replacement of a missing tooth without modifying adjacent teeth, like that required for a bridge.

Implants sound scary and complicated?

Dental implants are quite straightforward, if sufficient bone is available to accept the implant. The procedures can all be done in the dental surgery, using only local anaesthesia. In the first stage of surgery, the implant “screw”  is inserted into the bone site.

This surgery generally takes about sixty minutes to complete. After six to ten days, the stitches are removed/dissolved and the implant is allowed to heal for about three to six months. During this time, bone grows into the implant surface to secure it.

How long will an implant last?

Research has shown a long lifespan once the implants have been integrated with bone, though each patient is different. Longevity may be affected by overall health, oral hygiene, nutrition, and smoking. Individual anatomy, the design and construction of the implant and crown and habits may also have an impact.

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