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Dental Implants

There are many reasons for tooth loss such as poor oral hygiene, tooth decay, gum disease, and trauma.

Dental implants are an excellent restorative option for replacing missing teeth as they can functionally and aesthetically resemble a natural tooth. Dental implants look and function like natural teeth so they can rejuvenate your oral health by improving your bite and allowing you to eat and smile with confidence.

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What is a dental implant?

A dental implant consists of a small titanium screw which is surgically placed into the jawbone. Either one implant is placed in your jaw for a single missing tooth, or several can be placed to retain a bridge or secure a denture. The implant fuses with the jawbone, acting as an artificial tooth root. Your dentist will then fit a custom-made crown to the implant for a single tooth, or a bridge or denture.

What is the process of getting a dental implant?

Adequate jawbone and space between teeth are required for dental implants. Your dentist can determine if you are a suitable candidate for this procedure.

Dental implants can take several months to complete and are typically fitted in stages. Your implant dentist will always begin with a thorough examination using the latest digital technology to see your jawbone three-dimensionally. This technology provides a guide for the safe placement of your implants.  

  • Tooth extraction - First, your dentist will address any tooth that might require extraction. The dentist will administer a local anaesthetic to numb the area and remove the tooth to make room for the implant. Nervous patients can request sedation.
  • Implant placement - Depending on your initial assessment, some implants can be placed immediately after an extraction, if not, your dentist will wait until the extraction socket has healed before continuing with the dental implant treatment. At the appropriate appointment, your dentist will surgically place the implant into your jawbone under local anaesthetic and then fit a healing cap over it to allow the gum to heal.
  • Fusion - The implant must then have time to fuse with the surrounding jawbone. This typically takes three to six months depending on the complexity of the case.  
  • Crown placement - Once the implant has fully healed, a crown, which has been matched to the colour and shape of your existing teeth will be screwed into the implant.

Can anyone have dental implants?

While dental implants are a viable option for many individuals, they aren’t suitable for all patients. Your dentist may postpone or advise against this procedure if you have:

  • Poor oral health
  • Gum disease
  • Insufficient bone in your jaw

What are the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implants support the integrity of the facial structure by preserving the jawbone and encouraging new bone production. They are the only restorative dentistry option that effectively keeps the jawbone from receding after tooth loss.

Dental implants improve your self-confidence by enhancing your smile. Chewing and speaking are restored because the implants look, feel and function like normal teeth.

How will I feel after getting a dental implant?

While you may experience some discomfort or swelling after your implant fitting, this is normal and will gradually improve with healing.

An ice pack can help reduce discomfort and swelling after the local anaesthesia wears off. Over-the-counter pain medications can also help to manage any discomfort. In some instances, your dentist may prescribe an oral rinse or prescription antibiotics to help support healing in the weeks following the procedure.

How long do dental implants last?

The longevity of dental implants can vary depending on the original complexity of the case and quality of post-operative care. They require the same care as your natural teeth. Depending on the location of the implant in your mouth it can last 10-15 years and possibly even longer with the right oral maintenance and regular visits to your dentist and hygienist.

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