If you're missing a tooth, or teeth, you'll be all too aware that a gap in your smile can negatively affect your confidence and self-image. The loss of a tooth can also impact the function of your bite and may even result in adjacent teeth being compromised by shifting position and becoming more vulnerable to decay, chipping and cracking.
Dental implants offer a permanent, proven solution to missing teeth. An implant is basically a custom-made, artificial tooth which is made of either ceramic or titanium (the same material used to heal broken bones). The artificial tooth is fixed to a titanium post implanted into the jaw bone. Implants look, feel and function just like real teeth, and can last a lifetime with proper care.
Dental implants can be used to:
- Replace missing teeth
- Support dental bridges
- Secure dentures (either removable or full and fixed)
Advantages of dental implants:
- Unlike other dental restorations such as bridges, dental implants do not require the grinding down of the teeth on each side of the gap.
- Implants are comfortable, convenient and very strong.
- Implants are easy to keep clean.
- Implants prevent side-effects of tooth loss such as, gum recession, bone loss, and speech difficulties.
- Dental implants can make dentures secure and reliable – which means no more messy adhesives or slipping, uncomfortable dentures.
What does the process involve? Although every individual is different, there are generally four steps in the process of having a dental implant.
Step 1: Initial consultation The first step is an initial consultation to determine the condition of your general and oral health, and ensure you are a good candidate for dental implants. At this stage you'll be given an individualised treatment plan with details on when you'll need to return and how long your implant process will take.
Step 2: Implant placement The second step is to insert the titanium implant into the jaw bone where your new tooth will be placed. The implant is then allowed to bond together with the bone - this may take between six weeks and nine months, depending on the individual. During this time we can provide you with a temporary tooth if required. Please note that charges for the temporary teeth are not included in implant prices and will be quoted separately.
Step 3: Extension placement The next step involves attaching an extension to the implant so your new tooth can be snugly fitted in place. We generally allow a few weeks for the gums to heal after this process before fitting your new tooth. Please note, not all implants require this step.
Step 4: Crown placement The final step is to secure your new tooth (the crown) in place. Your completed implant will look and feel so natural, you'll forget you ever had a missing tooth.
Your comfort is our top priority It's normal to feel apprehensive before a dental procedure such as an implant. But at Dentalcare West you can relax knowing you're in the very best hands. Soft music, DVDs and warm blankets are just a few of the extra luxuries we provide as part of our service. We can also talk through pain relief options to ensure your comfort is optimal throughout your procedure.
For more information about dental implants, visit our Dental Implant FAQ page or chat to one of our friendly staff on (09) 818 8855.