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Dental Implants

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are artificially made teeth that are placed into the jaw that look, feel and perform like natural teeth. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth or a whole arch.

What are the benefits?

  • They look and feel like your own teeth.
  • They are firmly fitted into the jaw.
  • There are no unsightly clasps visible.
  • You can eat what you would like to with no discomfort.
  • Improved self-esteem.
  • They will outlast dentures.
  • They will not affect your neighbouring teeth.

There are five main steps in the dental implant process

  • Consultation – formulation of a tailored treatment plan to best suit your needs
  • Preliminary Treatment – this may involve extraction of any hopeless treatment, grafting to improve the jaw structure or gum treatment to remove any infections prior to implant placement.
  • Implant Installation – this is where the implant is placed into the jaw.
  • Healing Phase – most cases take around 2-3 months to heal. A temporary replacement tooth can be organised so that your smile will not be affected throughout the process
  • Implant Crown – your dentist will finalise the implant crown onto your implant.

Implants consist of 3 components:

  • Crown – a replacement tooth.
  • Abutment – a device that connects the crown to the fixed implant.
  • Implant – a biocompatible Titanium device that is fused into the jaw bone.

Who can have dental implants?

If your gums are healthy and you have enough bone to hold the implant than you are a suitable candidate.
Routine flossing, brushing twice daily and regular dental visits will ensure you have good oral hygiene so that plaque and calculus won’t develop.

If you have had radiation therapy to the head or neck area, smoke, have diabetes or heart disease we recommend that you talk to your periodontist who will be able to assess if you are a suitable candidate.

How long does it take?

The overall implant process can take from 3 – 6 months and it is done in 2 or 3 stages.

Dental Implant Procedures

Stage 1

The implant is inserted into the bone and then the gum is stitched closed. Within 7-10 days the stitches will be removed and the implant is allowed to integrate (become fixed) into the bone. This could take between 3-4 months.

Stage 2

Once healed an impression for a post (abutment) is taken for the manufacturing of an implant crown.
Radiographs (x-rays) are also taken to ensure that the abutment will be placed correctly.

Stage 3

The abutment and implant crown are fitted around two weeks later. Another radiograph is taken to make sure that the implant crown is correctly seated in the dental implant. The final restoration is made, taking into account strength and aesthetics.

A month later your dentist will check that the bite is comfortable and that the implant is stable. It is important that you have your implant checked 6 monthly to make sure that everything is still stable.

Caring for your dental implants

Bacteria and plaque adhere to natural teeth as well as dental implants. It is import to make sure that you:

  • Brush at least twice a day.
  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months for regular check- up and cleans.

Plaque and calculus can lead to gum inflammation, infection and bleeding gums which may affect the stability of your implant.

Properly maintained implants that are anchored by sufficient bone can last for many years, however like all other dental appliances some maintenance is required to prevent any damage to the crown or implant itself.

Regular 6 monthly check-up and cleans are important to ensure that plaque and calculus don’t develop on your natural teeth or your implant and to prevent gum inflammation.

Are there any risks?

Like any type of surgery there is some degree of risk. Some patients may have an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic or they may feel nauseous. There may be some bleeding or infection that will need to be controlled.

Whilst these risks aren’t normal occurrences it is important that we inform you and make you aware of this information.

If you have any concerns talk to your dentist before undergoing any treatment.


Treatment of Periodontitis

Periodontitis (also known as gum disease) results in the progressive destruction of supporting structures of teeth, which includes not only the gums, but additionally the supporting jaw bone.


Dental Implants

Dental implants are artificially made teeth that are placed into the jaw that look, feel and perform like natural teeth. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth or a whole arch.


Crown Lengthening

A gummy smile refers to a smile with excess display of the gums. This can lead to an unaesthetic smile. One such cause of a gummy smile is when the gums excessively grow over the teeth, leading to the appearance of small teeth.