Dental implants are a fantastic option for those people who have been unlucky enough to lose a tooth, either through age, trauma or decay. Dental implants are both a cosmetic and an oral health treatment option as they solve the issue of a missing tooth whilst helping retain the overall integrity of the other teeth.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is technically known as an endosseous implant because it works by fusing with the bone in your jaw. The process for dental implants is based on osseointegration, which refers to the process of a material (in the case of implants, titanium) forming a bond with the bone. For more information, take a look at our recent blog post, What Are Dental Implants?
Advantages of Tooth Implants
- Dental implants allow the natural tooth tissue to be preserved as there is no need to cut down any teeth next to the missing teeth, as is required with dental bridges. This also assists in preventing any further restorative work on adjacent teeth.
- Dental implants preserve the structure of the mouth by reducing the load that is placed in the rest of the teeth when one tooth is lost.
- They assist in preserving bone and help prevent bone deterioration.
- Evidence shows that dental implants have a far longer life span than other treatment options.
- They allow food to be chewed more easily and don’t affect speech patterns, as other treatments can.
A typical dental implant procedure will require three dentist appointments. The first visit will be dedicated to the diagnosis and planning, the second visit will involve the insertion of the implant and the third visit will be centered on fitting the crown.
The first step in a tooth implant involves diagnosing the problem and discovering if you are eligible for an implant. Generally speaking, if you have lost one or more teeth you will be eligible, however, extensive damage to the gums and bones may preclude you from being fitted with a dental implant.
For the implant to be successful, relatively health gums and a good jawbone density are required in order for the screw to take hold. So advanced periodontal disease and subsequent bone loss would be an indicator of someone who is not fit for a dental implant.
This visit is also a good opportunity for you to pass on any fears of phobias you have regarding dental work so these can be considered when your treatment plan is created.
The second visit is where the screw will be gently inserted into your jawbone. You will receive general anaesthetic for this. Unless you suffer from a phobia, a local anaesthetic will completely mask any pain and will be sufficient.
The screw acts in a similar fashion to the roots in your teeth in that it holds your teeth in place. Once the Dr Olstein is happy with the placement, you will be sent home to allow the area to heal. The screw will take some time to heal and infuse with your jaw; anything up to a couple of months is quite normal.
During this rest period you will be able to go about your normal activities, although maintaining a healthy oral hygiene routine is absolutely essential.
The final visit involves the attaching of the crown, which will act as your completely normal looking and functioning tooth! This can only be done once Dr Olstein is convinced that the screw has fused with the bone (osseonintegration) and the gum has recovered properly. The osseointegration is the most important aspect of the entire procedure, if this hasn’t occurred to a satisfactory level the crown cannot be fitted—there won’t be a strong enough anchor to hold the crown in place and allow the implant to stand up under the pressures of chewing.
The crown will be custom-made to ensure the colour and shape matches the rest of your teeth. After this final visit all you have to do is go home and make use of your brand new tooth. No one will be able to distinguish the implant from the rest of your teeth and you’ll be able to enjoy all the foods you love. Even though the crown won’t pick up tartar and plaque like natural tooth, you should still brush that tooth in order to keep the gum around the implant healthy and bacteria free.
If you’d like more information on the tooth implant procedure or would like to book an appointment then contact us today on 03 9510 1644. Alternatively, you’re welcome to complete our easy online booking request form.