A Complete Guide to Dental Implants

Dental implants are a critical part of dental rehabilitation where missing teeth can be found.  With the popularity of cosmetic dentistry,  advances in dental implants and other restorative procedures has been rapid and continues to grow.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth . The missing tooth is replaced with a titanium post/screw, placed into the jaw bone.  Once healed a crown is attached to this dental implant using a dental abutment and screw mechanism.

Once inserted into the jaw bone, the implant remains untouched for a few months so that bone tissue will grow around the implant.  This will make the implant immovable and fixed in the jaw like a natural root. This process is called osseointegration, a successful osseointegration means the implant can then be restored with the implant crown.

An implant crown has the following two components –

Abutment: After the implant is securely embedded in the jaw bone it is ready to have an abutment attached to it – the abutment is the connecter between the implant screw and the crown.

Implant Crown: Once the abutment is fixed, a crown (replacement tooth) will be attached to the abutment.

Can anyone have dental implants?

Dental implants are not suitable for everyone and an extensive medical history and thorough clinical oral examination is performed prior to considering a dental implant.  Patients who suffer from some conditions will have a higher failure of healing, meaning the titanium screw will not heal to the bone.  Systemic conditions such as diabetes and crohn’s disease and oral conditions such as periodontal disease and poor bone quality are an example of some conditions that can compromise healing and lead to early failure of dental implants.  In these situation it maybe beneficial to consider another dental restoration to replace a missing tooth or teeth, such as a bridge or a denture.

What preparations are required before dental implant surgery?

The initial dental implant consultation will determine if an implant is suitable for your situation.  This consultation will involve a medical history and oral examination, and an extensive discussion about dental implant.  On completion of the consultation you will have a thorough understanding of the surgical implant procedure, the steps involved, the time and the cost and your consent to proceed will be obtained.  A special type of radiograph called a cone-beam will be taken to determine the amount of bone available to receive the implant.  At this time a replica of your teeth is also made so we can measure the size of the space.  A space maybe suitable for one implant, or it maybe larger and require two implants or an implant bridge.

Once the bone has been carefully measured, an implant size and type, that is most suitable for your situation, is chosen.  If the amount of bone available is insufficient, a bone graft maybe required and additional consent is obtained from you  prior to proceeding to the dental implant surgery.  These days we us a bone substitute such as BIO-OSS rather than removing it from another part of your body.

If the tooth has not yet been removed, this is often completed first, and a period of healing is required prior to preparing for the surgical implant placement.

What is the surgical dental implant procedure?

The surgical dental implant procedure is completed with a sterile set-up like you would see in a hospital.  The dentist and the assistant will wear sterile gowns and the treatment room will be set up with sterile drapes.

The mouth is numbed in the location the implant will be placed.  The gum is lifted, a hole is drilled into the jaw bone, the implant is screwed into this hole.  The gum is stitched closed.  At the completion a list of strict post-operative care instructions will be given with any required antibiotics and pain relief.  People often report that the  procedure is not very painful.  After 3-4 months of healing the implant is tested to ensure it has healed and preparations can be made to make the implant crown.  Receiving the implant crown is the final step in the dental implant installation.

Cost of implants

Currently in Australia implants cost around $5000.  They can cost up to $6-7000 if using highly successful and advanced Swiss or German implants such as Noble Biocare or Straumann, or they can be around $4000 if using more generic brands that are cheaper to purchase.

Every surgical or invasive procedure caries risk and may not be suitable for everyone.

Call today and have a chat or BOOK ONLINE for a consultation.


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