A Dental Implant is an option to restore a missing tooth or multiple teeth in the jaw. It is one of the most successful treatments to replace missing teeth (95-98% success rate based on studies) and is also the least invasive option concerning adjacent teeth.
It does not involve cutting down healthy adjacent teeth such as seen in dental bridge and is a fixed option that is less likely to trap food and bacteria such as a removable denture.
It will feel LIKE natural tooth, since that it is attached to the jaw bone unlike that of a dental bridge or denture. However, it will not feel exactly the same as a natural tooth due to the difference of how natural tooth root is attached to the jaw bone comparing to the dental implant.
Which is why we still regard dental implant as an option only if no other options are available to restore a broken/fractured/decayed tooth. For best options to restore a heavily broken-down tooth, please refer to Dental Crowns.
The Dental Implant Procedure:
The procedure consists of placing a high-grade titanium alloy implant root analogue (artificial dental root) into the jaw bone that has been prepared to receive the implant. Once the implant root is placed, the bone can heal between 3-9 months.
This is the most crucial step in implant procedure as failure tends to occur during this phase due to infection during healing OR body’s own foreign body reaction. SMOKERS and PATIENTS WHO ARE IMMUNOCOMPROMISED (such as diabetics, patients going through chemotherapy, etc) are more prone to implant failures due to reduced resistance to bacterial infection and poorer healing capabilities.
Upon integration of the implant to the jaw bone (Osseointegration), the dentist will then place an abutment to the implant (similar to a tooth prepared to receive a dental crown or bridge), followed by the final restoration (crown or bridge). Newer technology has allowed the abutment and crown to be fused as one-piece design to improve strength and stability but is not always possible.
Your dentist will discuss with you the best option suited to you.
Advantages of Dental Implants:
Fixed option, meaning that it is attached to the jaw bone similar to a natural tooth.
Less invasive to adjacent teeth as there is no need to grind the adjacent teeth during its placement most of the time. Also, careful procedure usually induces LESS PAIN than a tooth removal.
Cost effective, for potential future loss of teeth multiple implants can be joint together to convert to a bridge meaning not EVERY single missing teeth need to be implanted.
Considered one of the best treatments for missing tooth/teeth.
High success rate comparing to other options available.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants:
Relative high cost initially comparing to most standard tooth restorations. Crowns and ceramic onlays are significantly cheaper if the tooth can be restored that way.
Minor surgery is required, and relative risk associated with smokers and immunocompromised patients.
Does not feel EXACTLY like real tooth but very close to it. In fact, nothing compares to natural tooth which is why we would always recommend dental restorations prior to considering removal of the tooth and replacing it with dental implant.
Aesthetic of the gum (gingival) is more challenging to obtain as it does not attach to the implant the same way the gum attaches to natural tooth. Additional surgery may be necessary adding to the cost of treatment.
What happens if you have lost teeth and want to replace them with dental implants but don’t enough healthy natural bone to support dental implants?
The answer might be a bone graft. A bone graft is one of several techniques used to rebuild bone, restore your natural jaw line, and provide a strong and sturdy foundation for implant-supported teeth. Natural bone insufficiency can be caused by gum disease, tooth development defects, injury to the face after trauma as well as deterioration of the empty spaces in your mouth after the loss or removal of teeth.
Is Bone Grafting Safe?
Bone grafting is very safe and usually highly successful. It involves “building up” or adding bone to the jaw by using your own natural bone from another location in your body (often inside the mouth) or sometimes from a donor. New technologies are now allowing processed or synthetic bone materials to be used. Your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your mouth, teeth and jaw as well as discussing with you in detail the different grafting options.
Bone Grafting Procedure:
A local anesthesia is used to numb the areas. Sedation therapies is applied if you are suffering any anxiety.
After the procedure, usually antibiotics is given as well as pain medication. We also advise you to use an antibacterial mouthwash and avoid eating certain foods to ensure you aren’t putting pressure on the bone graft.
While your bone graft is healing, you will be able to work and go about your everyday life. Your implants will be placed after the grafted bone has become a strong and integrated with the existing bone. The amount of time the integration takes varies depending on the location of the graft and the density of your bone. You can expect somewhere around 3 months.
Wisdom teeth extraction
Wisdom teeth are usually the last teeth to appear in our mouths, coming through between the ages of about 16 to 25. Though sometimes they appear later in life.
If there is enough room in your mouth, your wisdom teeth will come through without problems.
Problematic Wisdom Teeth:
For some people, there just isn’t enough room in your mouth and as they try to erupt through your gum they get stuck on all sorts of angles and become, what we call, impacted. In many cases the impacted tooth will need to be removed.
There are many reasons that wisdom teeth may need extracting but the two most common are,
- The tooth is unable to erupt through the gum and causes infection. This is called Pericoronitis.
- There is decay present because of inadequate cleaning. This often happens as wisdom teeth can be hard to reach for cleaning.
If you are experiencing pain or have any problems with your emerging wisdom teeth, please don’t delay in booking an appointment with us.
Wisdom teeth removal:
Following x-rays, if your wisdom tooth has already pushed through the gum and doesn’t require surgery, we will extract your tooth normally.
However, if your wisdom teeth are only partially through or causing other problems, they may require a surgical extraction.
- A local anaesthetic is given.
- An incision is made in to the gum in order for it to be pulled back and expose the tooth.
- The tooth is extracted which may be done in one or in pieces.
- A suture or stitches may be done to hold your gum tissue in place.
- A swab or gauze is placed where the tooth was extracted to stop any bleeding and cause a clot to form.
After Extraction of Wisdom teeth:
- Be careful not to bite your tongue or cheek while the anesthetic is wearing off.
- Try not to touch the area with your tongue or hands. Don’t consume alcohol or smoke for at least 24 hours to allow healing and prevent dry socket.
- To avoid bleeding, please don’t drink using a straw.
- No excessive or forceful spitting to avoid bleeding.
- Avoid hot drinks and foods, crunchy foods, seeds, small grains and soft drink for at least three days
- Avoid rigorous rinsing and cleaning for several days, and afterward clean very gently. Avoid rigorous activity for several days.
- Keep the swab or gauze in place for 30 minutes after surgery.
- If bleeding re-occurs place a clean tissue in the area and bite down gently to apply pressure and stop the bleeding.
- Take a gentle pain reliever if pain returns but please don’t take aspirin as this will cause bleeding.
- If you experience prolonged pain, you may have developed dry socket and should contact our office for a follow-up treatment.