Dental implants are an increasingly popular and the gold-standard treatment choice for replacement of missing teeth. This is because dental implants emulate the form and function of teeth without relying on other teeth for support. If you have missing teeth, dental implants can be an excellent option for treatment as they provide a viable alternative to a fixed bridge or denture. Dental implants are medical grade titanium based fixtures that are inserted into the position of the missing tooth/teeth, and are crowned to appear and feel just like a natural tooth. These implants will become integrated with your jaw over time and are designed to function as an anchorage device, similar to the way that roots of teeth behave. They can be used: to replace a single tooth, to replace multiple teeth as part of a bridge, and to support and stabilise a denture when bone levels are low. These metallic fixtures have a high success rate and are relatively easy to place in the mouth with minimal pain.
Suitability of implants depends on the existence of bone within the area of interest. Important factors in assessing bone is the height, width, and density of the available bone area. If there is insufficient bone, we may need to augment the region by grafting. Other important consideration is patient health where immune suppressed individuals and heavy smokers may decrease the high success rates of implants.
The process for implants is very simple. We require a consultation to discuss the proposed treatment and assess how suitable it is for each patient, we proceed to attain a Cone beam CT scan of the jaw which gives us details of the amount of bone, the height, the density and how close it is to critical structures in the mouth. Proceeding forward with this we may insert the titanium screws via guide which can often decrease post-operative pain and allow us to capitalise on all the available bone within the jaw. After the insertion we may weight 3-6 months to allow bone to grow around the implant prior to loading the implant with a crown, a bridge, or a denture.