What are Dental Implants
Dental implants are an excellent solution for the millions of people who have permanently lost a single tooth, many teeth or for those who use dentures. Made of materials that are compatible with human bone and tissue, dental implants provide artificial teeth that look natural and feel secure. They can also be used to attach full or partial dentures.
Dental implants offer many advantages over conventional dentures and bridges, which are often uncomfortable and, due to slippages and clicks, limit a person’s ability to speak and eat normally. Because of this, many people feel self-conscious wearing their dentures. Dental implants can greatly enhance a person’s quality of life by providing the following:
- Restoring normal chewing and speaking functions.
- Increasing your confidence by replacing teeth that won't move or loosen and have the same look, feel and function of your natural teeth.
- Eliminating irritated and painful gums, as well as damaging pressure on remaining natural teeth caused by dentures.
- Helping to stop the progressive bone loss and shrinkage of your jawbone by “mimicking” the roots of natural teeth.
Dental Implants for Tooth Replacement
Your teeth are designed to last a lifetime, but sometimes they don't! Replacing missing teeth is important to your general health and to the health of your other teeth. Not only do you lose chewing ability when a tooth is lost, but un-replaced teeth can cause other teeth to be lost, tipped or crowded and create subsequent problems.
Also, there are obvious problems of poor appearance and loss of self-esteem caused by one or more missing teeth. Dental implants should always be considered as an option to replace a failing or missing tooth.
Replacement of lost teeth with dental implants has been used for treating missing teeth for more than 50 years and is recognised as an effective treatment choice. Treatment is considered more predictable than bridgework, resin bonded bridges and endodontic treatment.
Dental Implant Benefits
Still unsure about whether implants are right for you? We have looked at the benefits of opting for implants over other tooth replacement methods. These include:
Dental implants or implant supported dentures don’t ever have to be removed. No more embarrassing inconvenience of removing your dentures every night. And no more messy adhesives to hold them in place. Dental implants are as convenient as having your own teeth.
Dental implants improve your smile
Replacing missing teeth with dental implants is very important for your front teeth. Whereas, a bridge or partial denture does not protect bone loss and causes a visible bone defect, a dental implant prevents bone loss and gives a natural appearance.
Dental Implants behave like natural teeth
Probably the biggest advantage of a dental implant is that it restores full chewing power! When your implant has been placed, completely healed and restored, you may not be able to tell the difference between your natural tooth and the implant tooth. You can eat, brush and floss with it completely normally.
Dental Implants prevent bone loss
A major benefit of dental implants is that they prevent bone loss. As the jawbone requires pressure from chewing in order to maintain its density, it will deteriorate in the absence of a tooth. In fact, in the first year after you lose a tooth, your bone will lose 25% of its volume, and this will continue for as long as the tooth goes un-replaced by an implant.
Regular dentures and bridges can actually worsen bone loss because there is nothing to stimulate the bone. On the other hand, implant-supported dentures and bridges act like natural teeth and provide the pressure necessary to maintain bone density.
Dental implants feel natural
Dental implants feel and function just like your own teeth. There are no restrictions on the types of food you can eat. Many find that they can return to eating the kinds of foods they’ve missed for years with dentures.
You can enjoy attractive, healthy-looking smiles again with the help of dental implants!
Unlike a tooth-supported bridge, dental implants don’t require altering your other teeth. This leaves more of your own teeth intact, which improves your long-term oral health.
Missing teeth or loose dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat a wider variety of foods with confidence and without discomfort.
There are no loose parts to worry about. The implant is stable and comfortable. No adjustment is needed after installation. Normally, it will serve its owner for life.
Keeps teeth in place
Dentures may slip when you eat, talk, smile, laugh, kiss, yawn or cough, so you have to "re-position" them back into place in the mouth. Dental implants are fixed in place and fuse naturally with your jawbone, meaning your replacement teeth won't move, click or shift.
Dental Implants FAQ
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium screws that are placed directly onto the jawbone, so they can serve as "roots" to hold the artificial teeth. They are used to replace a single tooth or several teeth which have been lost due to a dental disease or injury.
How successful are dental implants?
With more than three decades of clinical experience and over a million patients treated worldwide, statistics confirm the success rate of 95%.
I have a loose denture. Can dental implants help me?
Yes they can. Implants are commonly used to replace individual missing teeth but they can also be used to secure or stabilise loose dentures in either the upper or lower jaws. Instead of having a crown (cap) fitted to the top of the implant a precision-made attachment is fitted which inserts into the underneath surface of the denture, securing the denture to the implant. In the lower jaw this can be achieved with as few as two implants.
If there is sufficient bone available and you are willing to have more implants inserted then you can often be fitted with a completely solid set of teeth attached to the dental implants (a full-arch bridge). This set of teeth would stay in permanently and would look and feel very similar to a natural set of teeth.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Anyone who is healthy enough to undergo a tooth extraction is likely a suitable candidate for dental implants. However, these are certain contraindications that may complicate or prohibit implant treatment. Patients with certain conditions, such as chronic diseases, heavy smoking or alcohol abuse may not be candidates for implants. Dentist at JR Dental Practice will determine whether or not this treatment is right for you after a complete discussion of your medical history.
Am I "too old" for dental implants?
The state of your health is more important than your age. If you are healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, it is likely you can have dental implants. A consultation with one of our dentists will help to determine whether implants will work for you. They do for most patients!
What are the advantages of dental implants?
Because the implants fuse to the jawbone and offer a secure base for the replacement teeth, some patients find this a comfortable option in restoring their smile. In many cases, implant-retained teeth look and feel more like natural teeth.
What are consequences of tooth loss?
Throughout the course of life, teeth are lost for many reasons.
Missing teeth at the front of your mouth can result in a visible defect affecting the appearance of your smile, your self-confidence and possibly your speech. Missing teeth at the back of your mouth can affect your bite, your face and your ability to eat. If untreated, missing teeth can cause loss of bone in jaw and can affect position of surrounding teeth.
What is the success rate of Dental Implants?
With the rapid advances in implant dentistry, dental implants can be expected to function indefinitely. Success depends very much on quality of the bone into which they are placed. For example, implants placed in the front portion of the lower jaw can have a success rate as high as 98-100%. In other areas of the mouth, success rates can drop due to the thinness of bone.
Occasionally dental implants do fail. In many instances, they can be replaced with another implant, usually of a slightly larger size.
How long does treatment take?
For routine cases insertion of implant can be between several weeks and six months. If the bone already present is robust, the treatment time will be shorter. With poorer bone more time and care must be taken, which can extend treatment time beyond six months.
While the majority of implant treatments are 100% successful, any problems with the implants integrating with the bone may result in the treatment time extending which patients must be prepared for.
Will it hurt?
While there may be some discomfort and bruising depending on your individual situation and restoration needs, many people are pleasantly surprised and report that they feel better than they anticipated after the procedure. The majority of dental implant patients return to work and everyday activities by the next day, are able to function normally between appointments, and are very pleased with the end result.
Are there any complications to be aware of with implants?
Occasionally complications do arise prior to or during the implant procedure.
- The most common is bone loss happened due to untreated tooth loss for long time, which can be rectified through preliminary procedures such as a bone graft.
- Occasionally, it may be necessary to have a sinus lift. This usually occurs when implants are needed at the back of the upper jaw - an area where the bone is softer due to the enormous chewing forces at work. Tooth loss and bone thinning can cause the floor of the sinuses to collapse, and need reinforcing via a bone augmentation procedure.
- Sometimes your body will reject the implant. This has to do with your body’s natural defense and is one of the reasons why patients with compromised immune systems may not be suitable for implants. It is therefore imperative that you discuss with your dentist about any pre-existing medical conditions you may have before committing to treatment, as they can seriously affect the prognosis of a dental implant.
- Other complication can be infection caused by poor aftercare and oral hygiene, which can prolong the healing process that is so vital to a successful implant procedure. It is therefore extremely important to follow the instructions given to you by your dentists in between appointments and avoid smoking and alcohol.
- Sometimes a patient may need a nerve relocation to accommodate an implant, but this is fairly rare and usually only happens where there is less flexibility about where the implant can be placed.
When can I return to work?
It may be possible to return to work the next day. Some people need to take some time off work, especially if the operation has been carried out under intravenous sedation. We will give you appropriate advice for your individual circumstances.
How long can dental implants last?
Implants can last for many years if cared for properly and may even last a lifetime. Unfortunately not everybody is the same and it is difficult to predict exactly how long your implants will last.
When should i get implants done?
Ideally, as soon as possible after extraction. In many cases, this can actually be on the same day. After a tooth is extracted, bone shrinks away year on year. And dental implants require enough bone to be present to work. For that reason, you should have implants placed as soon as possible.
Is the procedure painful?
No. Anesthesia is used during the surgical procedure to eliminate any discomfort. Our dentist may prescribe pain medication for any discomfort after surgery. Most patients indicate that the discomfort is minimal after surgery and many feel comfortable enough to return to work the next day.
Are dental implants easy to look after?
Compared to dentures, implants are easy to look after. Implant-retained replacement teeth are just like your natural teeth. They should be cared for and checked regularly. Implants are susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease, just like your natural teeth. You will need to see the hygienist regularly, and maintain your own oral hygiene to a high standard, again just like your natural teeth.