What is a dental implant?

A natural tooth consists of a crown (the part you see above the gum), and the root (the part hidden under the gum). It is the root in the jawbone that actually holds the natural tooth in place.

Osseointegrated dental implants are the state of the art in modern dentistry. They are small titanium “fixtures” that take the place of the natural root of the tooth. Gently implanted into the bone, using local anesthesia, these are very tiny titanium roots actually bond or integrate with a patient’s bone, more securely than natural root would. Most often, the osseointegrated implants, a prosthodontist can build permanent teeth, custom designed and shaded to aesthetically suit each patients distinctive facial requirements.

Implants provide additional support where teeth are missing without putting force onto remaining natural teeth. They may be used to support the replacement of a single missing tooth or a complete functional set for individuals who have lost many or all of their teeth.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

Improved appearance

When teeth are lost, ongoing shrinkage of the jawbone occurs making the face look older. Dental implants can slow or stop this process. Dental implants look and feel like your own natural teeth.

Improved comfort

Dental implants eliminate the pain and discomfort of removable full or partial dentures. Since dentures sit on top of the jawbone and gums, continuous shrinkage of the jaw bone alters the fit of the denture resulting in slipping or rocking of the dentures. Exposed nerves and irritation of the gum tissue may add to the discomfort.

Implant supported replacement teeth are like natural teeth because they are anchored securely to your jawbone.

Gum irritation and the pain of exposed nerves associated with conventional full or partial dentures are eliminated.

Improved speech

With ill fitting dentures, the teeth slip and slide around the mouth. The facial muscles become tense in an attempt to hold the teeth in place. This often results in mumbling, slurred speech or clicking noises.

Replacement teeth allow you to speak with confidence in a relaxed and natural tone.

Better eating

The average denture patient with an excellent fitting denture eats at 15 20% efficiency when compared to a person with natural teeth. As the jawbone shrinks, your chewing efficiency is reduced even more, making it difficult to eat certain foods. Dental implants can restore chewing efficiency comparable to that of natural teeth.

This allows you to eat your favourite foods with confidence and without pain, enjoy what everyone is eating and not think twice about it. A full upper denture covers the palate of the mouth and reduces the ability to taste foods. With dental implants, you can have the palate removed from your upper denture so you can taste and enjoy your food.

The lower denture teeth have been perfectly selected to match the upper natural teeth. The acrylic gum work is comprised of numerous shades and textures of pink acrylic to mimic natural gum

More confidence

Dental implants can eliminate the numerous embarrassing inconveniences of removable partial and full dentures. You will eliminate the use of gooey denture adhesives that must be reapplied throughout the day. You will no longer need to cover your mouth when you laugh or smile, for fear that your teeth will pop out or fall down.

Protection for your remaining natural teeth
Dental implants are often more appropriate than a bridge for the replacement of one or more adjacent teeth. With conventional bridgework, the teeth surrounding missing teeth must be ground down. Dental implants often eliminate the need to modify these teeth, resulting in a conservative, yet esthetic restoration.

Improved self-esteem

Considering all other benefits, dental implants can improve your self esteem. You may feel better about yourself. You can regain nearly all the capabilities that most people have with natural teeth, giving you renewed confidence, and allowing you to enjoy life, do what everyone else is doing and not think twice about it.

How long does the procedure take and is it painful?

The answer to this question depend upon the type of dental implant treatment provided.

The entire Osseointegration process and the building of the new teeth can be accomplished in as little as three months, though the upper teeth or replacing a complete denture with permanent teeth normally requires five to six months.

“Teeth In A Day” treatment allows patients to have fixed teeth from the very first day of treatment.

Dental implant patients range from nine to ninety nine. A single congenitally missing tooth can dramatically change the life of a child; the replacement of dentures in an older patient can make the golden years fulfilling and considerably gentler to both the digestive tract and the cardiovascular system. Generally, only patients with rare blood diseases, leukaemia, or patients being treated with chemotherapy are contraindicated. Patients who have successfully undergone cancer therapy and received permission from their oncologist may benefit from implant treatment.

Who is a candidate for dental implants?

Anyone who is missing one or more of their teeth due to injury, disease, or decay may be a candidate for dental implants. If one or a few teeth are missing, dental implants in conjunction with a crown or bridge can replace those teeth without losing more bone. If all or most of your teeth are missing, the dental implants may be placed to replace a loose fitting full or partial denture. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant(s) along with healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease. Occasionally older patients express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits that dental implants offer.

However, health is more of a determining factor than age. If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you’re probably healthy enough to receive dental implants. Certain chronic diseases may contraindicate implant treatment. Your dentist will determine if you are a candidate for dental implants after a careful evaluation of your dental and medical health history.

Is there pain or discomfort involved?

Just as with any surgery, there can be some discomfort. Anesthesia, patient sedation combined with a gentle and careful handling of the tissues helps to eliminate any discomfort at the time of the procedure. Most patients report that there is very little discomfort and that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they anticipated. Depending upon the number of implants placed, there may be swelling and/or tenderness for a few days following the surgery. Through our vast experience we have determined that using certain medication combinations greatly assist in the healing process. These are provided as part of the procedure. Patients generally prefer a soft foods diet for the healing period following surgery. Cold foods and tepid soups are suggested, as they aid in reducing swelling.

Are dental implants successful?

Research and documentation studies have proven the effectiveness and long lasting results of dental implants. The Branemark system of dental implants have demonstrated a success rate of over 95% in documented studies. Good oral hygiene is one of the most critical factors to ensure the health of your dental implants. Our dentist will instruct you on the proper home hygiene procedures to keep your dental implants and remaining teeth clean and healthy. Regular visits to your dentist are important so we can assess the health of your replacement teeth and gum tissue. You can rely on your replacement teeth to look, feel and function like natural teeth for years to come.

Bone Augmentation

There are various types of bone augmentation that are required in different situations, and if you need this we will explain to you why and how this is carried out.

Guided Bone Augmentation

This is carried out at the time of implant placement, and you will be unaware of the procedure apart from taking a few more minutes of surgery time. Bone is added around the implant due to small deficiencies in your own bone. This will help to maintain the look of the implant crown where it comes out of the gum.

There are various material options to use for this technique, and we have chosen our favoured materials following careful research. We will explain what the material is and why it should be used in the cases required. Some of the materials used have animal derivatives – however if you would like us to use man made alternatives we will be pleased to offer this.

Sinus Grafting

The bones that make up your face are hollow and contain air spaces known as sinuses. The sinuses that sit above your upper back teeth are known as the maxillary sinuses. When an upper posterior tooth is lost, the floor of the maxillary sinus drops down into the space formerly occupied by the root of the lost tooth. In order to place an implant, it is often necessary to put the sinus floor back up to where it originally was by adding a bone substitute. This procedure is called a sinus floor bone augmentation or a sinus lift.

Block Graft Materials

The most widely-used material for grafting in implants is a very safe material called Bio-Oss and it is derived from cow-bone. It has been specifically treated to remove all of the protein from the graft material so there is absolutely no risk of developing mad-cow disease or foot-and-mouth. It has been used for over 20 years without any problems and it is our graft material of choice in most situations. It is often necessary to contain the graft material using a membrane (just as a bucket will help to hold sand in the shape of a sandcastle). Some membranes are dissolvable and therefore do not need to be removed at a later stage and these are the ones that we use whenever possible. The most widely used dissolvable membrane in the world, called Bio-gide is made from collagen taken from pigs and is extremely safe. Occasionally there are good reasons why we may choose a different material for your graft or membrane and we would explain these to you. Alternatively, you may have a strong preference for us to use one material over another and if so, you should let us know well in advance.

Implants to Support Dentures

Mini Dental Implants

Mini implants consist of a miniature titanium implant that acts like the root of your tooth and an O-ring that is incorporated into the base of your denture. This makes your denture much more stable and stops it coming out at embarrassing times. It allows small movements of the denture but will not allow the denture to fall out unless you want to remove it. This is an economical solution as opposed to conventional implants. Since mini implants have only been available for 10 years, there is no long term research to prove there durability. As such,they are provided as an intermediate solution.

They allow you to chew all sorts of foods again that you may not have had in years such as steaks and even chewing gum!!

Are Mini Dental Implant safe to use ?

As they are so small they are very gently placed and so cause very little discomfort. They are regularly placed in people of advanced age as they are so gently placed.

What can Mini Dental Implants be used for ?

Mini implants can function as medium-term supporting structures. In fact, some have been successfully functioning in patients’ jaws for several years. In the past several years, some clinicians have been using MDI’s for single tooth replacements and in crown and bridge cases. We only use them for making dentures more stable where they have the highest success rate.

What’s the main use for Mini Dental Implants?

The most effective use of this unique dental product is securing a lower denture. There are millions of people worldwide who are lacking teeth who struggle daily with loose teeth.

A majority suffer a great deal of discomfort as a result of lose or ill-fitting dentures. Many denture wearers simply withdraw from any type of social engagement as a result of being compelled to wear them. Successful placement of the Mini Dental Implant addresses and solves all of these social and practical problems. Denture patients all over the world have experienced relief from loose or ill-fitting dentures with MDI`s. Uniquely, the MDI can be utilized to stabilize a denture in a couple of hours at integrated dentalcare with the patient leaving the clinic with a stabilized prosthesis.

How can Mini Dental Implants help denture wearers?

Mini dental implants are placed in a painless procedure and requires only a mild local anesthetic. The mini dental implants, which are approximately the size of wooden toothpicks, are placed about five millimeters apart. The patient’s denture is then carefully adjusted to allow it to snap onto the four mini implants. The result? A tight fitting, completely reliable system that allows a patient to speak and eat with confidence. The Mini Dental Implants are placed in about an hour. Because of the unique, minimally invasive procedure, the minute size of the implants, and where they are placed, the typical Mini Dental Implant patient can enjoy a light meal an hour or so after having the mini implants placed. Further, a denture patient who has had his or her prosthesis stabilized with MDI can remove and replace the denture easily after a little practice, and can easily utilize good dental hygiene. All in all far superior to suffering from a loose denture.