As much as we’d like them to, our teeth don’t always last a lifetime. And sadly, without them, life can be quite challenging. Up until recent years, options for missing teeth were not always so appealing, either. But now, with the introduction of dental implants, we can provide people with a far better result and – most importantly – a better quality of life.
Dental implants provide us with a stable, safe and permanent solution.
For many patients, they give their quality of life back by providing the following:
- Keeping our jawbone strong, and appearing more youthful – avoiding the collapsed, prematurely aged look of those with missing teeth. (Through bone resorption or disintegration)
- Giving the facial structures a far more natural-looking appearance – better than either no teeth or the look of conventional dentures, with the patient’s facial muscles constricting
- Giving greater confidence when eating, talking and smiling
- Giving stronger bite retention, allowing the patient to eat a wider variety of foods, increasing nutrition and overall health
- Taking away the annoyance of ill-fitting dentures
- Eliminating the need for denture relines, glues, etc
- Keeping the surrounding teeth in good alignment
We can lose our teeth for many reasons: accidents or injury, severe decay, diseased gums (advanced periodontitis), illness and medications or simply wear and tear over the years.
If you’re missing one tooth, particularly at the front of the mouth, you may be keen to find a permanent replacement that gives you a more natural-looking appearance. This is where just one dental implant, along with an abutment and crown, can be a perfect solution. What’s more, your new artificial tooth will prevent the surrounding teeth from moving.
Another benefit of a dental implant is that it doesn’t interfere with the surface of the neighbouring teeth. In past years, we would have had to have ground down the supporting tooth to form a permanent bridge. With an implant, there is no need to disturb any other teeth. Also, your gums will not pull away from the artificial tooth, as it would with a bridge, and your tooth will be easier to clean.
If you’re missing several teeth on either your upper or lower jaw, your dentist may recommend two or more implants. Once these implants have settled into your jawbone in a process known as osseointegration, your dentist will give you an appropriate device such as a fixed bridge or an implant supported denture. Once again, the neighbouring teeth do not need to be ground down to support the device, the result looks more natural than many other options and hygiene is improved.
Some people find themselves left with no natural teeth. In earlier years, dentists were a little more enthusiastic about removing teeth and replacing them with dentures. These days, though, we prefer to try to keep your natural teeth as long as possible and, in most instances, restore them the best we can.
For patients with no teeth, dental implants, placed in the top and bottom jaw can transform a patient’s life. Implant-supported dentures can be attached to these implants, providing the patient with a strong, stable new set of teeth that is a far improvement from conventional dentures.
In keeping with the position of the Australian Dental Association, Mills Road Dental Centre do not encourage people to go to third world countries for dental work. While the prices may be attractive, with the novelty of a free holiday adding to the appeal, we cannot guarantee the outcome of such activities.
There are several important issues to be considered before choosing to go overseas for your dental work:
- Infection control: How can you trust a country where it’s not safe to drink the water? Many Third World countries have less than stringent hygiene protocols, which leave you more vulnerable to developing an infection.
- Regulated health products: In Australia, all our dental products, including implants must meet the requirements of the Therapeutic Goods Authority. In Asia, rules are far more relaxed, and many implants that Australia would reject are used in implant dentistry.
- Professional qualifications: Are the staff trained and where have they receive their training from?
- Complications: What if something goes wrong? Are you prepared to fly back to the overseas destination, incurring not only flight costs but accommodation and more time off work? If you choose to stay in Australia to remedy any complications brought about by overseas dental work, will the Australian dentists be able to work with the devices you’ve been given overseas?
The above are all serious issues that must be considered thoroughly. Dental implants have been a life changer for many. However, all surgical or invasive treatments pose a degree of risk. Therefore, we advise you to take time before making a decision and seek the opinion of more than one appropriately qualified dental professional before proceeding.
This blog page has been fact-checked by Dentist Dr Aran Moorthy.