Dental Implants & Dentistry
Teeth can be lost for a variety of reasons; be it from wear and tear or tooth decay- when a tooth is beyond salvage or missing- the question of whether we should replace it comes to the forefront.
For many patients an important discussion we often have is: is there a need to replace a tooth? And if so, how and when should it be done? For more information on the consequences of tooth loss see the link below.
What is a Dental Implant?
An implant is a medical-grade titanium post, which is surgically placed into the jaw bone. It is then used as a foundation to support a crown, bridge or denture. If we were to compare an implant to a real tooth- the implant itself would be the tooth root, providing an anchor for the actual tooth crown above (the part of the tooth that is visible).
Having been used for many decades to replace missing or heavily decayed or broken teeth- an implant can provide a robust longterm result, which is generally more comfortable than that of a denture. By using an implant as a foundation for a missing tooth, we can also forgo any drilling of the neighbouring teeth, which is a requirement for most conventional bridges.
What does Implant treatment involve?
For each patient seen by Dr. Taylor, a bespoke treatment plan is completed as every case differs in the same every person does.
During the consultation, necessary X-rays and photos are taken to assess suitability for an implant, as well as a discussion of the alternative treatments available. More finer details such as when and how the tooth/teeth will be replaced as well as overal costs of treatment are also covered.
For some cases, a 3D X-ray (aka. CBCT scan) may be prudent to assess the area where an implant is being planned in more detail. This can be because of the proximity of the surgery to important nerves or arteries in the jaws, or due to a lack of bone volume which needs further examination before we can appropriately plan treatment.
For regions lacking sufficient bone, a bone grafting procedure may be necessary to create enough bone to support an implant.
In many cases, if the tooth due to be extracted is still present, we can utilise the opportunity during the extraction appointment to placed an Immediate Implant.
Following thorough assessment and discussion of the treatment plan proposed, comes the Implant placement surgery. In general, the placement of an implant is usually completed within an hour under a local anaesthetic (yes, exactly the same as you would have for a deep filling or extraction!) and is less uncomfortable than the extraction of a tooth.
As with any other surgery involving bone, we would expect a certain amount of swelling and discomfort surrounding the surgical site in the days following an implant placement surgery. A diet of softer foods is also recommended for the first week after the surgery.
Restoring the implant
Once the implant has had a suitable time to heal and fuse to the jaw bone, we can than begin the process of restoring it with an implant crown. The process can vary depending on whether the tooth is towards the front or back of the mouth, and can take between 2-8 weeks.