Who is a suitable candidate for dental implants?
Implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple missing teeth or to replace teeth in cases with complete tooth loss. Therefore almost any situation can potentially be treated with this modality. However, various factors need to be taken into consideration such as bone volume and quality, tooth and jaw relationships, oral habits and general medical health. Your dental surgeon will assess your suitability for treatment with these implants.
How is treatment carried out?
Phase 1: Treatment Planning – Thorough assessment of your medical health, oral health, the way your teeth fit together and bone volume will be done to produce an individualized treatment plan.
Phase 2: Surgical Treatment – A minor surgical procedure is carried out to place titanium fixtures into bone. If bone and/or soft tissue is insufficient, there may also be a need for additional bone or soft tissue grafting procedures.
Phase 3: Restorative Treatment – After integration of the implant fixtures to the bone, ‘new permanent teeth’ will be designed and fabricated to fit over the dental implants.
How long does the treatment take to complete?
It normally takes about 4 months to a year to complete the entire treatment. This would depend on case complexity as well as the need for additional procedures like bone grafting. “Immediate loading” implant where the entire implant treatment is completed within the same day is possible for few selected cases.
How do I maintain these implants?
These ‘new teeth’ are maintained in much the same way as normal teeth. Specific brushing and flossing techniques will be taught, as well as regular dental check on the implants. Good oral hygiene is required to ensure the long-term success of your implants.
How long will the implant fixtures stay in the bone?
If the titanium fixtures have successfully integrated to the bone and are properly maintained, they should last for many years. However, just as you would expect conventional crowns, bridges and fillings to need occasional repairs or replacements during the course of their lifetimes, your implant-supported teeth may also need similar maintenance.
What if I am not sure if I want an implant straightaway?
Successful implant placement requires an adequate bone volume into which the implant is placed. If a tooth is infected the ideal time to place an implant is following 3 months of healing. However, once a tooth is removed, the alveolar bone around the socket begins to resorb resulting in a loss of bone volume. Placing implants at these sites is not always straightforward as a result.
It is now possible to fill the void in the bone at the time of tooth removal with bone in order to try to maintain this volume. Implants can be placed more simply after a period of 3-6 months of healing depending on which bone substitute has been placed. This is known as socket preservation.
Should you have no intention of proceeding with implant treatment, socket preservation is also useful in maintaining the shape of the ridge for the support of any prescribed denture and also the lips and cheeks.