What are dental implants?
Implants are titanium posts that are placed into the jawbone, acting like artificial tooth roots. Over time, the implants fuse to the bone, a process called osseointegration. This forms a strong foundation and can support a single crown, a bridge and, in combination with other implants, a full arch.
Can I have an implant?
If you have enough bone density, then having an implant will not be a problem. Your implant needs plenty of bone to fuse to so we first assess the health of your jaw. If there has been any loss of bone tissue, we can use a bone graft to encourage the tissue to replenish. In some cases of severe gum disease, it’s necessary for us to replenish lost bone to help the structure and health of your jaw.
What is involved in having an implant placed?
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. 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 may need to 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.
Looking after your implants
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.