Dental implants have revolutionised the world of dentistry. Implants are small titanium bolts that act as an artificial tooth root, providing the patient with the base for either a crown or implant-supported denture. The result is an artificial tooth or teeth that are permanent, natural looking and far more stable and comfortable than conventional alternatives such as dentures or (tooth supported) dental bridges.
Dental implants have many benefits:
- Prevent bone loss
- Last more than 30 years
- Increase your biting efficiency
- Eat, laugh and talk without fear of losing your dentures
- Maintain the stability of your adjacent teeth
- No more denture relined or loose dentures
Abutments, crowns & dentures
Dental implants are an essential component in the process of replacing your missing teeth. However, they are only part of the story.
The dental implant is the small bolt that acts as an artificial tooth root. On top of that, your dentist may place an abutment and then a crown for just one missing tooth, or an implant-supported denture or bridge that attaches to the abutments for several missing teeth.
Preventing bone loss – a major benefit of implants
One of the major benefits of dental implants is that they help preserve the bone in your jaw.
When our natural teeth are missing, we no longer have the tooth roots stimulating the surrounding bone tissue to keep it strong. Consequently, the bone starts to waste away (resorb). This is why you may have noticed some people with missing teeth have a collapsed, ‘older than their time’ appearance.
As time passes, this continual bone loss makes it harder to wear dentures as the dentures need to be repeatedly relined to adapt to the collapsing jawbone.
Dental implants mimic the action of the tooth root by providing stimulation to the jawbone, keeping it healthy and strong.
Osseointegration is a process when bone tissue connects to a load-bearing artificial implant. In dentistry, this happens after your implant or implants have been inserted into your jawbone.
In the following three months, before any more work is done, you must wait while your bone tissue slowly connects (integrates) to the implant, allowing the implant to become a strong, stable and permanent fixture that will function just as a normal healthy tooth would.
The implant placement procedure
STEP ONE: Initial Consultation
Here, you can discuss your condition with your dentist and explore treatment options. The dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and jaw, including photos, scans and x-rays, before presenting you with treatment options and answering any questions you may have.
You’ll be given a fully itemised quote for your proposed procedure. If you have private health insurance, we can use our HICAPS machine to ascertain your exact rebate entitlement.
If you decide to go ahead with the procedure, our team will book the implant procedure for you.
STEP TWO: Implant insertion
Usually, your dental implant will be inserted in a dentist’s chair at a specialist dental clinic. The procedure is relatively quick, and you’ll be given plenty of anaesthesia or even additional sedation if preferred.
STEP THREE: Osseointegration
You’ll be required to wait approximately three months for your bone cells to knit to the implant through a process known as osseointegration.
STEP FOUR: Attachments
This is the final stage of your procedure where you are given the appropriate attachments and devices to give you your new permanent tooth or teeth. If you have only one missing tooth, your dentist will add an abutment and crown, while if you have several teeth missing you’ll be given your partial or full implant supported dentures.