What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is the most natural-looking replacement for your missing tooth or teeth. A screw-like anchor, it is submerged into your jawbone causing it to bind with natural bone.
In time, the bone grows around the implant, locking it in place. A connecting structure called an abutment is then attached to the implant and a crown is made to fit over the abutment. In a very short time, your new implant will feel so normal, you will be able to eat and brush your teeth as if you had never lost a tooth.
Dental implants are made using high-strength biocompatible titanium, and with proper oral care can easily last from 15 years to a lifetime when cared for correctly.
Who Needs Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the ideal long-term treatment solution for:
- Replacing missing teeth
- Those seeking a predictable treatment outcome for terminal teeth
- Full mouth rehabilitation where there are no teeth or for full terminal dentition
- Keeping teeth on either side of a missing tooth healthy without having to take tooth structure away (like you would if you were to have a bridge)
- Having a positive impact on the bone unlike dentures which negatively impact bone
Type Of Dental Implants?
There are two main types of dental implants. The most suitable type of dental implant, can only be determined after an oral examination is carried out.
Endosteal Dental Implants
Endosteal dental implants are the most common type, where screws, cylinders or blades are surgically placed into the jawbone. These implants are most suitable if you have a wide and dense jaw.
Endosteal dental implants can also be recommended if you have bridges or removable dentures.
Subperiosteal Dental Implants
Subperiosteal dental implants are placed on top of your jaw with the help of a metal framework protruding through your gums. This framework holds your artificial tooth in place.
Subperiosteal dental implants could be a suitable option if you have minimal jawbone height. Once your gums are healed completely, your implant will become as secure and long-lasting as an endosteal implant.
Dental Implant Procedure
A dental implant procedure takes place under local or general anesthesia depending on your dental health needs.
The process involves these three phases:
- Placing the implant: You will first undergo surgery for the implant to be placed in your jaw. The implant will sometimes be covered with gum tissue and left for 3 to 6 months. In this time, the implant will fully integrate into your jawbone.
- Attaching the post (abutment): A post will be attached to the implant, allowing the gum tissue to grow around it. This serves as an anchor for your replacement tooth.
- Crown attachment:Finally, a customised crown will be attached to the implant post.
If it is determined that a dental implant is needed you would need to have this confirmed through 3D scanning, A cone beam scan will help diagnose the tooth (or teeth) in question and then also, later on, be used for the implant planning.
Careful planning is required before commencing the procedure to ensure a predictable outcome and faster recovery time. The following factors will need to be taken into consideration:
– bone density
– gingival/ periodontal health
– bite (dental occlusion)
– long term prognosis of surrounding teeth
– physical health
Once the procedure has been planned, depending on the individual patient, the surgery will be done without sedation, with sedation or using general anaesthetics.
MOST COMMON DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Single Tooth Replacement
If you have lost just one tooth, this procedure could be the most suitable one for you. This is also a preferred option if an affected tooth needs to be replaced and an implant is to be placed immediately.
Multiple Teeth Replacement
If you have several missing teeth that need replacement, implant-supported bridges may be the appropriate treatment option.
All On 4
This procedure involves the removal of all teeth (on one or both jaws), or can be used if you do not have any teeth. It is very different to single implants because the removal of the teeth and dental implants (normally 4 per jaw) is done in one day and 24 hours later a full set of teeth are issued.
Porcelain Teeth For All On 4
Your initial teeth for All On 4 prosthesis are permanent as their support structure is milled from titanium and then acrylic teeth are placed over this.
After about 6 months you can ‘upgrade’ to porcelain teeth. The reason porcelain teeth cannot be installed straight away is because the implants are not integrated yet and the heavyweight can cause implant failure.
If an oral examination reveals there isn’t enough bone height in your upper jaw or the sinuses are very close to the jaw for a dental implant to be placed, this procedure may be an alternative option.
In this procedure, your surgeon will cut gum tissue in the vacant spot left by your back teeth. Gum tissue is raised to expose the bone and a small window in the bone is opened. The membrane which lines the sinus on the other side of this window separates your jaw from the sinus. The membrane is pushed up gently away from the jaw.
The space where your sinus was previously located is filled with granules of bone graft material. When the bone is properly positioned, the tissue is stitched closed. It takes about nine months for grafted material to properly mesh with your bone, after which your implants will be inserted.
Sinus Augmentation is an All-on-4 Procedure completed by ‘tapping’ the sinus membrane up and filling it with granules of bone on the same day as the implant placement.
There may be a situation where you have a defect in your jawbone. If you have inadequate bone, lifting the gum away from the ridge exposes the deformity.
This process is called ridge modification. For improving your appearance once treatment is completed, it is required to first build up the ridge with a bone substitute.
Bone Grafting: At times the quality and amount of bone is not enough for stability of the implants and you may need Bone Grafting on both single implants or All On 4.This can be done at both the time of implant placement or prior to implant placement depending on the case.
Temporary Teeth: No one really likes to walk around with a missing front tooth so there are options in the healing phase for single implants.
COST OF DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Treatment lengths are dependent on both the patient’s individual needs and the recommendations from the dentist. For Invisalign, the trays should be worn for 22 to 24 hours per day, for between six and 18 months. However, if the patient has far more complex dental issues, the timeframe may extend, or metal braces may be the most effective option to start.
The cost of dental implants depends on a number of factors and can vary considerably. When considering cost, it’s important to take the skill and experience of your surgeon. Although you will pay more for dental implants compared to other tooth replacement procedures, dental implants last much longer.
Additionally, when you take into account the health benefits and confidence boost you get, dental implant treatment is a cost-effective long-term option.
These implants are placed in a site that has a missing tooth or at times a tooth can be removed and an implant immediately placed, depending on the patient.
This is followed by a 3-4 month healing period before completing the procedure with a permanent custom implant, abutment and crown.
The procedure from beginning to end can cost between $5500-$8000.
All on 4
This process involves the removal of all your teeth in one or both jaws and replacing them with dental implants.
Alternatively, this procedure can also be considered by people who have lost all their teeth.
The procedure is different from single tooth implants. Removal of teeth and inserting dental implants is done in one day. Normally, four teeth per jaw are implanted and 24 hours later a full set of teeth are provided. This procedure can vary in cost from $19000-$32000 depending on if grafting or if you have minimal bone and a zygomatic implant is needed.
Cost Compared to Other Tooth Replacement Options
If you’ve lost one or several teeth you may be looking at different options to replace them. Thanks to modern technology, dental implants offer a solution to replacing one or more missing teeth which could potentially last a lifetime. Aside from implants, other common teeth replacement options are dentures and dental bridges. When comparing costs, it’s important to understand that the procedures are not all the same.
Dentures and bridges need constant adjustment and periodic replacement due to a change in jaw shape, as well as wear and tear. You could look at paying for a new set of dentures every 7 to 10 years.
Dental Bridges close the gap created by lost teeth. A typical bridge comprises one or more artificial teeth held in place by abutments or dental crowns. The artificial teeth are generally made from porcelain to match the colour of teeth. Other material used can be silver amalgam or gold.
Typically, the cost of a bridge can range from $500 to $1,200 per artificial tooth. A bridge with two or three pontics will cost more than a bridge with one pontic.
Traditional Dentures are the other option you can consider. The price of dentures depends on the materials and type of dentures you need. A full set of dentures will cost more than partial dentures. Also, acrylic dentures cost less than chrome-plated dentures. You can expect to pay up to $2,000 for a set of upper or lower dentures, while the cost of a full set of dentures could be up to $4,000.
HOW LONG DO DENTAL IMPLANTS LAST?
With good care and by following proper oral hygiene, correct manner, you can expect dental implants to last between 25 and 30 years.
Even if you consider the minimum term of 25 years, it is twice as long as what dentures should last.Once the procedure is completed, the implants will need to be cared for just like your normal teeth to ensure the gum tissue and bone health are maintained in good health.
The following factors will have an impact on how long your dental implants will last:
- Potential dental implant problems in the future
- How efficiently the implants were placed
- The oral care taken to look after teeth
- Lifestyle factors such as drinking and smoking
- Diabetes or other underlying medical conditions
DISADVANTAGES OF DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Restoring missing teeth with dental implants has helped people all over the world maintain their lifestyle without the inconvenience of dentures and removable bridges.
However, there are some factors you need to be aware of if you’re considering dental implants:
- Dental implants require a significantly higher financial investment compared to conventional tooth replacement options.
- However, many patients find that the advantages in terms of appearance and comfort far outweigh the costs.
- Dental implants require a considerable investment of 3 to 9 months for the complete procedure. Considering that implants last around 20 years, this investment is quite justified.
- Since a surgical process is involved, there is a healing phase involved. Care needs to be taken to keep the implant in place by eating soft food and keeping the body hydrated.
- In rare instances dental implants can be rejected. This happens in not more than 2% of cases. In the unlikely event this occurs, the implant is replaced with a slightly larger one.
- If you are a diabetic or a smoker, you need to be aware that patients in these categories face the highest failure rates of around 8% – 12%, compared to a normal failure rate of just 3%.
- If you do not have sufficient bone height to insert the dental implant, it may necessitate bone augmentation or grafting. This procedure is more invasive and requires a longer time to heal.
RECOVERY TIME FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS?
It normally takes about 5 to 7 days to recover after a dental implant.
Some patients may experience longer recovery times due to the following factors:
- The number of teeth being extracted and implanted – it takes longer to heal from multiple implants and whole jaw implants.
- If you require a bone graft to assist with bonding, bone from another part of your body, like the hip, is transplanted into your jawbone. Alternatively, artificial bone can be used. The healing process can take a few months if bone grafting is required.
- If you require a sinus lift, recovery can take longer because the surgical procedure adds bone to the upper jaw. Your sinus membrane needs to be lifted or moved upward to be able to fit the additional bone.
ORAL CARE TIPS FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS?
With proper oral care your dental implants can almost last a lifetime. Although implants cannot decay or develop cavities, surrounding teeth must be maintained to prevent inflammation and ward off disease
Here are some oral hygiene tips to follow after getting dental implants:
- Use a soft and angled toothbrush for brushing to effectively clean implant abutments
- Gently brush and floss, especially where the implant meets your gum line
- Use a low-abrasive toothpaste daily to prevent tartar from developing
- Avoid eating chewy food, sticky food and hard nuts
- Visit your dentist every 6 months to make sure both your natural teeth and implants are in good condition
- Use oral irrigators to reduce plaque around implants and prevent gingivitis
- Avoid smoking and consuming alcohol in the first six months of getting a dental implant.