The purpose of a dental implant is to replace a missing tooth with a fully functioning, long-lasting replacement that should look and feel completely natural. Implants can be used in conjunction with bridges or dentures or can be used solely for the purpose of replacing missing teeth individually. The procedure is relatively complex and does involve minor surgery – the purpose of which is to fit a titanium replacement ‘tooth root’ that can support a permanent, full ceramic crown. The end result is a tooth that is as close as possible in aesthetics, functionality and life-span to a natural tooth.
If you are unsure as to what any of the dental terms used in this site mean simply click on the word or phrase that is causing confusion and you will be taken to our definition’s page. We hope that you find this site both informative and helpful in explaining fully the sometimes complex world of dental implantology.
REASONS FOR HAVING AN IMPLANT
Dental implants are an effective treatment for patients that have a missing tooth or teeth due to an accident, injury or disease. They are excellent in restoring full oral functionality either through the replacement of individual teeth or as a means to support bridgework or dentures. Having a missing tooth can be an uncomfortable and even embarrassing issue that often has detrimental effects on confidence and self-perception. Aside from how we view ourselves, our smile influences how we are perceived by others and it is becoming more and more important both socially and professionally to have a confident, healthy smile.
There are many reasons as to why a tooth or teeth may fall out including:
An accident or injury
Poor oral hygiene
Improper Dental treatment
Failed Restorative treatment
Sustained tooth grinding or clenching
Out of these, the most common reason for the loss of a tooth is periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease, or gingivitis, is caused by bacteria invading the gums leading to swelling and redness. If not treated, toxins produced from this bacteria cause bone to be destroyed. This causes gaps to appear in the gum known to dentists as ‘pockets’ which are hard to clean out and bacteria and plaque quickly build up in them causing more bone loss. Too little bone means that eventually the tooth will fall out.
For replacing teeth, implants are seen as a much better way in most cases than alternative treatments such as dentures. Implants look and feel completely natural and due to the way they are integrated into the structure of the jaw, prevent the bone loss that can sometimes arise with dentures or bridgework. Whatsmore, implants, unlike bridges, do not affect the adjacent teeth as they support themselves. Implants have a very high success rate and it is relatively easy to predict how well an implant will work for a patient.
Implants cannot be used for everyone as matters such as bone levels, oral hygiene and known blood disorders have to be taken into account for each patient. They are however, for the right people, an extremely effective way of replacing teeth.
What’s the cost of Dental Implants
Modern dental implantology is an exacting field where there are many considerations to be made. The cost reflects the level of skill and training required in order to carry out such complex reconstructions. A single tooth at the front of the mouth is probably the most complex case requiring high levels of skill and ability to create a natural result and this must be reflected in the final cost to the patient.
It must be borne in mind that dental implantology is akin to hip and knee replacement and thus the skills required to carry this out are reflected in the costs.
Various materials are available for the construction of crowns and bridges and this is a consumer choice offered by us to our patients. Hence there are variables in cost at this level.
As well as the surgical skills required, implant reconstructions require a highly skilled team of dental technicians such as our metalworkers who craft the titanium components as well as making the metal supports for the new teeth, We also have skilled ceramists who can create the natural contours of the teeth with porcelain.
Because each individual case is dependent on a number of factors, it is not possible to give an indication of fees. Once a comprehensive examination has been carried out by Dr Sethi and Mr Sochor and initial x-rays have been taken, only then can a treatment plan be provided with costings as appropriate for that particular case.
Why have Dental Implants become so popular?
Due to the huge advances in medicine, we are living longer and longer and hence the need for permanent dental replacement becomes very important to our overall health. Dentures and removable bridges have obvious problems such as looseness, instability and bulkiness. Implants can provide people with dental replacements that are both functional and aesthetic. Implants are not new. They have been around for a thousand years. But within the last 40 years, they have become increasingly predicable and are now the most successful form of dentistry including root canal treatment.
What is a bone graft and why may it be needed?
If there is insufficient bone for the placement of dental implants, it becomes necessary to create the bone in this area prior to placing implants. This procedure of building up the bone is known as bone grafting. Bone grafting is a very common procedure in dentistry and it is used commonly for dental implants and in periodontal procedures around natural teeth.
In order to carry out bone grafting, we need a source of bone to place in the deficiency. The best bone is the patient’s own bone (autogenous bone) and this can be taken from other areas of the mouth usually the chin or the back of the lower jaw. Occasionally this bone is taken from areas outside the mouth, such as the hip. When bone is taken from the hip, it is usually done in hospital by an orthopedic surgeon and transferred to the implant surgeon doing the procedure in the theatre.
Another very common source of bone is bone taken from cadavers (irradiated bone). This bone is harvested under very strict supervision at several bone banks in the United States and it is used widely in many dental and medical procedures. There has never been a case of a transmitted disease with this type of bone. It is very safe and very useful in creating bone especially in the back of the upper jaw. Synthetic bone is also available and has some use in implant dentistry but it is not as commonly used as the autogenous or irradiated bone.