Dental Implants

implantA dental implant is an artificial replacement of a missing root of a tooth that is inserted into the jaw bone when a natural tooth has been extracted. 

Dental implants can be used to replace one missing tooth, such as a front tooth, or many missing teeth. Implants can also be used to support dentures, particularly dentures for the lower jaw which will make the denture significantly more stable. It has been proposed at an international congress in 2003 that implant supported lower dentures should be the minimum standard of care for patients who need or have a full lower denture. 

A dental implant is usually a threaded metal screw, made of titanium which is inserted into the jaw bone in a relatively simple surgical procedure. The bone cells will grow right up to the titanium implant and strongly bind the implant to the jaw bone. Once this growth or osseo-integration, has occurred an artificial tooth crown can be attached to the implant via an abutment. Many advantages are provided by the dental implants. 

These include:      

  •   replace a single missing tooth      
  • support a denture        
  • prevent bone loss in the jaw, which stops adjacent teeth from becoming loose and prevents formation of hollowed cheeks   
  •  are surrounded by gum tissue and look more natural    
  •  it is unnecessary to cut into adjacent teeth for the preparation of crowns when making a bridge       
  • very firmly held in the jaw        
  • is a very successful procedure with greater than a 90% success rate- and is being proven to be a very long lasting procedure 

However, as with any dental or medical procedure there are limitations and risks involved with any dental procedureimplant2

Limitations for successful dental implant therapy are:       

  • the amount of bone available in which to place the implant         
  •  children younger than 17 years of age are not suitable as their bones are still growing        
  • smoking impairs healing and lead to loss of bone integration around the implant        
  • placement of implants during pregnancy is generally not recommended
  •  some medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, and some long term medications, such as the use of fosomax may increase the risk of infection and delay healing around the implant         
  • alcohol or drug abuse or some psychological illnesses may make a patient unable to follow the dentist’s instructions 

Some of the risks involved with the surgical procedure of placing a dental implant include but are not limited to the following:

  • allergic reactions to the anaesthesia, short term nausea following surgery, very rarely - excessive bleeding from the wound, or infection of the wound
  • implants placed in the upper jaw; particularly where in the regions of the back teeth may perforate the lining of the sinus
  • implants in the lower jaw may rarely cause a fracture 
  • the nerve in the lower jaw, inferior dental nerve, may be damaged, either temporarily or rarely, permanently, causing numbness in the gums, lips and skin around the mouth
  • Sometimes the small components that are part of the dental implant may be swallowed or inhaled, which may necessitate surgical intervention.

 Please ring us on 4635 3695 for more information or to make an appointment.implant4

All invasive or surgical procedures carry risk. Please discuss the benefits and risks of procedures with your dentist before proceeding with treatment.  Under current law we are required to state that you should seek a second opinion from a qulaified dental practioner before proceeding. If you have any further questions about dental implant treatment please ask one of the friendly Dentists in the Oral Experts Group. For further information please visit the Australian Dental Association Website, www.ada.org.au

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