Dental implants offer one of the most effective and long-lasting ways to replace one or more missing teeth, providing a fixed alternative to removable dentures. Teeth can be lost for a number of reasons including decay, trauma, infection or gum disease, and this loss can result in a whole host of problems. Implants can improve how you eat and speak, prevent shrinkage of the jawbone, and keep existing teeth firmly in place.
Implants are titanium posts that are surgically placed in the jawbone to act just like tooth roots. As titanium is a durable metal that is very well tolerated by the body, these cylindrical posts eventually fuse with the bone, providing a firm foundation for a crown or bridge.
It takes several appointments for us to place an implant and restore a missing tooth. We start with an initial consultation where we discuss in detail your treatment plan and how long we envisage the treatment will take.
We take x-rays and scans of your mouth so we can get a clear picture of your jaw. It’s important that there is enough bone density to support an implant. We use these x-rays and scans to locate the best spot for us to place the implant. If we are replacing a single missing tooth, the implant will be placed where the tooth root used to be.
Placing the implant
We always use anaesthetic and make sure you are completely at ease when having the implant placed. We place a temporary crown or bridge at the site to keep the area protected while the implant fuses and heals. It takes a few months for the implant to fully fuse to the jawbone. Once it has healed, we arrange to the top of the implant to be exposed from the gum so we can take impressions of the area.
Preparing for the restoration
Whether you are having a crown or a bridge affixed to your implant, we will need to take impressions so we can create perfect replacement teeth. These impressions are then used by a dental lab where your new teeth will be made from tooth-like porcelain. Once they have been crafted and sent back to us, we arrange for the fitting.
Fitting the replacement teeth
The fitting makes the treatment worth the wait when you can see yourself with a full smile again. We test the crowns or bridge before fitting in place to check the fit and make sure that you are happy with the end result. We then fix them in place to the implant abutment using a special dental adhesive.
Just like with natural teeth, implants will last longer if you keep up with a regular and thorough cleaning routine. While the replacement teeth are resistant to bacteria, the supporting gum tissue and bone are not. Keeping your mouth clear of bacteria will make sure your implants last just as long as your natural teeth.