What exactly are dental implants and what can they do for me?
Implants act as a substitute for teeth and they are today’s best alternative to your natural teeth. They offer you a permanent and secure solution for replacing one or more teeth. Made from the biocompatible material Titanium, dental implants function as anchors or support for traditional forms of dentistry, such as crowns, bridges or dentures.
There are numerous other reasons to choose dental implants:
– To avoid bridge work, which involves destructive preparation of adjacent teeth
– To avoid wearing dentures, helping to maintain your bone structures and supporting your facial tissues
– Dental implants can reduce bone atrophy
Are implants successful?
Dental implants have been in existence for at least 35 years. For the last 20 years, success rates are consistently over 95% with proper personal and professional care.
What is the procedure like?
1st Stage – Surgical
Using very accurate surgical techniques, an implant may be placed immediately or 6-10 weeks after tooth extractions within dimensionality controlled sites (the depth and width) in the jawbone. A bone graft harvested from the local bone site, and/or synthetic bone may be placed to augment lost, or damaged hard tissues. A collagen membrane is often used to protect this bone graft.
The gum tissues are then closed and the healing phase begins. This may take anywhere from 2-6 months to ensure a strong base. Patients often wear a provisional denture during the interim healing period, and in select cases a temporary crown maybe placed on the implant. There must be high density, quality and volume of bone with biting forces relatively low.
2nd Stage – Placing the abutment
This is the final surgical stage of the implant treatment. At this appointment an incision is made in the gum tissues, and an abutment placed onto the implant.
3rd Stage – Prosthetic
Creating and fixing the new tooth or teeth to the implant structure constitutes the third and fourth stage. This is usually completed by your general dentist at their rooms three months after implant surgery. At the third appointment, your temporary abutment will be removed and an impression taken of the implant. This allows for your final and permanent crown to be made by the dental laboratory and usually takes two weeks.
4th Stage – Final stage
This appointment consists of removing your temporary abutment and placing the final and definitive crown or bridge on top of a new custom abutment.
How much do they cost?
Each case is different, and cost is a function of your particular needs. After a complete examination, Dr Hoffman will more specifically determine your dental needs and the best treatment alternative(s) for you. At that point, you can specifically address the question of cost.
Initially, you might feel dental implants are expensive. However, they represent a more permanent and natural solution than dentures and partials. Thus, while there is a greater initial investment, they should last for years, particularly if you have an “ideal” case.
Does it hurt?
Usually discomfort is not a problem. In fact, many have said that having a tooth pulled was more painful! For the placement of an implant or implants, your doctor will use one of many anaesthetic regimens so there won’t be any discomfort. When you leave the office, you will be given appropriate medications and analgesics. Our staff are available at any time to make sure that you are comfortable.
How long will it take?
Recent advances by implant manufacturers are reducing the time for initial implant procedures. Treatment for the simple cases could take anywhere from 3-9 months, based on where the implants are placed and the type of restoration you desire. Some ideal select cases can be completed immediately, however if you are a current smoker there is a four fold risk of failure for the implant to take.
Will I be without teeth?
You will never be without teeth. Your doctor will make sure that in the interim period, you look and feel very natural by wearing a denture or a suck down splint.
How do I take care of my implants?
Normal routine home care and professional cleaning visits are required. It is important to know that every 3-4 months, you will need to have a routine cleaning and re-care treatment and evaluation. An individualised program will be designed for you to optimally care for your new teeth.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.