Missing teeth can have a devastating effect on the smile and function of your teeth. The teeth have many important functions, they help you eat the food you love, speak properly and support facial structure to maintain an attractive appearance. Even one missing tooth can negatively impact your smile and compromise your oral health. Dental implants are an invaluable tool in cosmetic dentistry and are used in many situations where a dental bridge or a denture would previously have been the only solution.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a titanium post which mimics a tooth root. Once placed in the jaw bone the dental implant can be used to support a crown to replace a missing tooth or a number of dental implants can be used to support other dental prostheses such as bridges or dentures. Dental implants are very natural looking replacements for natural teeth as they restore not only the missing tooth structure but also support the surrounding gum and bone giving a more full and youthful appearance and prevents the bone deterioration caused by missing teeth.
Am I suitable for dental implants?
Dental implants require adequate jaw bone structure for their placement and success. At Corry Dental Care we use cone beam computerised tomography (CT scans) to ascertain if you have the bone structure required for dental implants and as part of your comprehensive examination and treatment planning. We use the CT scan and a thorough assessment of your dental health and ability to maintain the sometimes complex work that accompanies dental implants.
All too often implants are misused and at Corry Dental Care we recommend the most appropriate and realistic dental solution available to you. For example many older patients crave a replacement for loose and annoying dentures to help them smile, eat, talk and look better. It is not always ideal for them to have complex dental restorations fixed in place as they are unable to maintain them for many reasons including lack of manual dexterity, forgetfulness or even lack of a general care plan. Sometimes implants should be considered in a treatment plan but are not the immediate solution and may be a solution for the medium to long term on your individual treatment plan.
Implants are not the universal solution and should be used in conjunction with all the other dental procedures available to offer an individualized treatment plan for your dental needs and desires.
What is the implant process?
Following a comprehensive examination and treatment plan the type, shape and form of the teeth to be supported are planned using the CT scan and dental study models so that accurate placement of the implants can be organised.
The titanium metal anchors are then surgically placed into the jaw bone to serve as tooth root substitutes and/or stable anchors for the replacement teeth. These sit just below the gum level and require 3 – 6 months to integrate with the surrounding bone so that the dental implant and the bone fuse together. In some cases dental implants can be loaded immediately after placement such as in Columbus Bridge or All On Four protocols and sometimes for single tooth replacements. Often dental bridges are used as temporary measures to maintain aesthetics and protect the implant sites.
Once the dental implants and bone have become fused they are ready to support the prosthetic teeth or dentures which are made in a trusted dental laboratory to the original plan.
The whole process normally takes 5 – 6 months and most patients don’t experience a disruption in their daily lives.
How do I care for my implants?
Dental implants once fused with the bone can be a lifelong solution but they do require careful planning and ongoing maintenance and care. Just like teeth the supporting structure of the dental implants can become diseased or destroyed. Therefore it is extremely important to plan for the future as far as maintenance of the implants and prosthesis they support are concerned. At Corry Dental Care our team will instruct and help you with the maintenance of your investment. Not only that we will maintenance into account much earlier in your treatment planning so that the correct implant solution is in place for you.