A dental implant is a titanium screw that is carefully positioned into the jawbone integrating with the bone to act as a foundation supporting the construction of artificial teeth above. Dental implants can be considered to be similar to the natural root of a tooth supporting a single artificial tooth or denture, or used in combination with several implants to form the base for a full mouth bridge reconstruction.
The ‘gold standard’ for replacing a missing tooth or teeth, dental implants utilise Titanium, which is inert, biocompatible and integrates with the surrounding jaw bone with minimal risk of infection.
Whenever teeth are lost, the underlying gum and bone that used to support the teeth will shrink away. This may lead to poor aesthetic appearance and functional problems with other replacement alternatives, such as dentures.
Although traditional replacement alternatives such as dentures can work well for some patients they may not be the best option for all patients. Some patients are unable to fully adapt to partial or complete dentures resulting in loose denture teeth with associated discomfort such as difficulty with chewing and speech problems. Bridgework often involves preparation of the adjacent natural teeth in order to support the missing teeth.
Dental implants are the closest thing to an almost natural tooth/root replacement offering several advantages. They are a long lasting fixed alternative to removable dentures and offer predictable results and high levels of support for the replacement of several teeth. Dental implants help preserve bone, avoiding the damage to adjacent teeth required by bridges. Improved confidence and quality of life, better appearance and greatly enhanced function, such as chewing and biting, are just some of the advantages that dental implants can bring.
Dental implants usually involve two phases, the surgical and the prosthetic phase. The surgical phase involves placing the dental implant into the jawbone, under local anaesthetic or light sedation. A period of 3 – 6 months is then allowed for the dental implants to fully integrate with the surrounding bone structure before the artificial teeth can be fitted. During this period, a temporary conventional restoration is used until the dental implants are integrated.
The second, prosthetic, phase involves the construction of the artificial teeth to be supported by the dental implants. These may take the form of a single crown, a bridge, a denture or a full mouth reconstruction.
Patients with complex courses of treatment may have several of these phases progressing simultaneously.
Surgical Placement of Dental Implants
Final Dental Implant Restoration
Single Tooth Implant Placement Anterior Tooth
Full Upper Jaw Implant Denture