Are implants safe & how long do they last?
Replacing a single tooth
Oral hygiene & hygiene protocol
What is a dental implant?
Am I suitable for dental implants?
What is a sinus lift or bone graft?
Replacing 2 or more missing teeth
What is the best age to have permanent implants?
People loose teeth at any age, making them candidates for implants at any time in their life. For some, this may be as early as their late teens, whilst others are in their most senior years. Where there are missing teeth, the jawbone suffers bone loss and begins to decrease in size. Denture wearers commonly report this problem, where the fit of their denture becomes compromised, as the ridge which is crucial for holding the denture disappears slowly over time.
With permanent implants, they restore normal loading of the bone in the jaw, which prevents any further bone loss. Therefore, the sooner you decide to have dental implants placed, the less chance there will be of permanent bone loss.
So, if you’ve recently lost a tooth, keep in mind that immediate action will give you the best aesthetic outcome.
Are dental or tooth implants the right choice for me?
Implants are a fantastic choice for many people, giving long-term and sound results. Generally speaking, implants are suitable for most people. However in order to find out if they are the right option for you, your dentist will have to see X-rays, and sometimes CT scans, to ensure that you have sufficient quality and quantity of bone matter. Certain medical conditions can sometimes affect the bone growing onto the implant. This will require careful scrutiny by your dentist.
Where do I go to get implants?
Dental implant treatment, although safe and popular, is a technically involved and sophisticated form of dentistry. That is why we recommend that you receive your dental implants in Perth, not offshore. Specific training is required to provide treatment for tooth implants. Our dedicated dentist usually performs the dental surgery in-chair at one of our Perth dental clinics. Occasionally, our dentist might refer you to a specialist for part or all of the implant treatment.
Placement of the implant is done under surgery by a Periodontist, Maxillo-Facial and Oral Surgeon or a dedicated dentist.
Construction and design of artificial teeth
This is done by a Prosthodontist or Dentist, as well as a Dental Technician.
Replacing a Single Tooth
Dental medicine has fortunately come a long way! In the past, if someone were to lose a tooth, there would be two options. They could wear a removable false tooth, or they could have a dental bridge placed that attaches to the teeth on either side of the missing tooth.
The above procedure carried a considerable downside: the healthy teeth on either side of the gap needed to be ground down, then two crowns would be placed over the remainder of the tooth.
Today we have much better options. Tooth implants enable us to replace a single missing tooth without any damage to the adjacent teeth, providing you with a naturally functioning solution.
What does an implant look like?
A tooth implant – the part that screws into your jaw looks remarkably similar to your natural tooth’s root.
What is osseointegration?
Osseointegration is the process whereby the implant starts to integrate or bond in with your bone matter. This happened after your dentist has placed this implant into the area of your missing tooth,
Making a lifelike tooth
After this bonding process has completed, your dentist will take a mould of your mouth so that a lifelike tooth can be made to fit on top of your tooth implant. After a couple of weeks, your new ceramic tooth can be attached to your tooth implant, resulting in a natural looking crown that should give a positive, long-lasting outcome.
Replacing two or more missing teeth
There is a couple of options to choose from when replacing two or more missing teeth from your mouth. A removable multiple tooth plastic or metal denture can be worn. Alternatively, to replace these teeth, a fixed multiple tooth bridge is manufactured, which rests on the remaining natural teeth.
Fixed bridges or dentures
It’s essential to note that when wearing a fixed bridge or dentures for a number of years, the natural bone at the site of the missing teeth continues to shrink, which requires a new bridge to be remade after every few years. A bridge also damages the natural teeth it rests on as they have to be ground down to keep the bridge in place.
When a bridge rests on implants
When a bridge rests on two or more implants, it doesn’t damage any healthy teeth and prevents natural bone from shrinking. The number of missing teeth will determine how many implants you will need, which is something that will be clarified by your dentist.
Manufacturing a permanent ceramic bridge
Once the implants have been placed successfully in your mouth, a mould will be taken of your mouth by your Dentistry Plus dentist. This enables our dental technician to make a permanent ceramic bridge. This is then secured onto the implants with tiny gold screws. Alternatively a permanent glue or adhesive is used. Once this is all completed, you will go back to enjoying perfectly normal function in your mouth.
If there are ever any complications regarding the bridge, or a repair is needed, the bridge can be removed by your dentist and sent to our dental technician to be repaired.
Replacing all teeth
If you are missing all of your teeth from either your upper or lower jaw, there are three options available to you. Firstly, you may choose to have a standard removable denture, which rests on your gums.
Another option is to have a full denture manufactured, which is then clipped onto a number of implants in your mouth. This ensures a ‘snap fit’ which is achieved by adding small attachments on top of your implants, that match up to certain clips on your new denture. When you are ready to wear your denture, simply place it in your mouth, clipping it onto the corresponding implants, which secures it firmly in place. The result is exceptionally stable and pleasing.
Removing the denture is also easy, simply requiring you to unclip the denture with your fingers. An added benefit is that due to the stability of this type of bridge, the palate area, (which in former days was an essential part of the denture) can be removed, making this a much more popular methods and previous ones, as taste and normal sensation to the mouth is returned.
Finally, there is a permanent option available to you. A dental prosthetist will make a full arch ceramic bridge, which is secured permanently onto your dental implants with tiny screws. Once the procedure is completed, it is extremely stable and you have normal function restored to your mouth.
Usually, four or more implants are required for this procedure. If ever there is a need for removal, this can be done by your dentist. Again, as with all teeth implants, stringent care of your oral hygiene is required.
What is the cost?
The cost of implants will depend on a number of factors, including how many are needed, which health fund you are with and where the procedure will be carried out. To be clear about the costs involved, we will provide you with a quotation, provided by the dentist, for you to take to your health insurance fund. This way you can find out exactly how much you will be covered for. On a positive note, today many health funds are supportive of dental implant treatments as they acknowledge that they are a safe, successful and permanent solution.
Other costs to consider
The type of treatment that you will require will determine the components involved. There are also other costs to factor in, such as professional fees, hospitalisation and medication costs.
Broadly speaking, tooth implant treatment is around the same cost or slightly more than other alternatives. However, the difference with tooth implants is that they provide a long-lasting result.
A long-term solution
Providing you look after your implants, they should provide sound, long-term success, which is another reason for choosing implants over new dentures that may have to replace over several intervals.
About Bone Grafts and Sinus Lifts
Sometimes, in the area where your teeth have been missing for some time, your natural bone may have shrunk dramatically, leaving not enough dense bone in the area for a tooth implant. When this happens, we have to look at alternative procedures before we proceed with a tooth implant. Essentially, we need to add more bone material back to your jaw. We do this by way of a sinus graft or bone graft.
Sinus graft or bone graft?
When this procedure is performed on the upper jaw, It is called a ‘Sinus Graft’ or ‘Sinus Lift’. On the lower jaw, the procedure is called a ‘Bone Graft’.
Sinus/bone grafts – a common procedure
In recent times, sinus or bone grafts have become increasingly popular, making them an extremely common procedure. Despite ‘bone graft’ sounding rather serious, all that’s involved is lifting the membrane that lines the inside of your sinus away from the sinus floor so that bone can be added to the area. Bone is then grafted into the area, and the surgery is then complete.
Ready for permanent implants
For the next six months, we let nature take its course, leaving the graft to develop it’s own blood supply. Over this period, it gradually turns into natural bone. Once the healing period has completed, your new implants can then be inserted.
Where is the bone taken from for a bone graft?
There are two options here: you can use your own natural bone, or bone can be sourced from The ‘Bone Bank’. This is something that can be discussed with your dental surgeon, to ensure that the right option is chosen for you.