Dental Implants Newcastle
Although the placement of dental implants dates back to the 1960s, it is only recently that they have enjoyed such wide application and more importantly, high success rates.
Most implant manufacturers now enjoy 90-95% success rates. This has come about through the careful matching of patients with surgical protocols, as well as improvements in the design of the implant fixtures themselves.
Today, dental implants have become a widely recommended restorative procedure for sufferers of missing teeth.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants nowadays are mostly a screw-type fixture made from commercially pure titanium alloys. The surface of the titanium fixture may be treated in some way to enhance its biocompatibility, and the head of the fixture usually has an internal hexagon attachment area.
The ‘internal hex’ is where abutments (superstructures such as dental crowns) are attached to the implant fixture via an internal screw. Dental implants are considered to be like new tooth roots which are placed into your jawbone, where a tooth is missing.
Dental implants – what is the process?
Here at Belle Dental, there are 4 main phases to the placement of a dental implant:
Planning is required to ensure that there is sufficient bone to support the dental implant. We will also need to determine the positioning/angulation of your dental implant in relation to the adjacent teeth and discuss the desired restorative outcome.
This phase involves placing the implant fixture into your jawbone. In some instances, augmentation of the implant site is necessary to ensure adequate bone for restorative and cosmetic outcomes. Once the implant is placed, there is a period of some twelve weeks during which ‘integration’ of the implant fixture into your jawbone occurs and healing of the overlying gum. Once the implant is integrated, it is exposed and the restorative phase can commence.
This is where dental crowns, dental bridges and other superstructures are attached to the implant fixture and the final visual/cosmetic result is achieved. This is also when the implant fixture is first loaded – contributing to the complete restoration of the function of your teeth and jaws.
All restorative dentistry requires some form of maintenance despite the fact that the implant/restoration complex cannot decay (as it is ceramic). The reason for ongoing maintenance is because the implant fixtures (in the bone) are susceptible to a form of gum disease and can fail due to this type of infection. Regular home care is necessary to keep the implant and restorations clean and free of plaque, as well as regular professional examination and cleaning.
When should you have dental implants installed?
Considering all the problems posed by missing teeth, it is recommended that you should ideally plan the replacement of a tooth that requires extraction before it is extracted. If this cannot be done, plan dental implants or other restorative dental treatments very soon after the loss of a tooth in order to prevent all these problems from arising.
What to expect if you don’t replace missing teeth
Missing teeth can actually lead to more severe dental and oral health risks. Aside from looking very unpleasant, missing teeth also cause problems in speaking, eating and allow the drifting of surrounding teeth. This causes disturbance of the individual’s bite, which most commonly plays out as food impaction, decay and gum disease. This drifting of teeth is irreversible and can additionally cause pain in the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint).
The loss of teeth also means that every remaining tooth bears an increased load – just like if one of the piers supporting a house is removed, the remaining piers bear an increased load and the floors and roof become crooked. Worse still, the bone in the area where the tooth is lost begins to disappear, causing a weakness in your jaw, as well as making the placement of implants in this area more complicated. Once the bone in the area left by the missing tooth reaches a critical level, additional procedures (such as bone grafting) need to be implemented to restore the site to its pre-extraction bone levels.
Although bone grafting is now routine – at Belle Dental, we prefer less invasive procedures, rather than treatments with a high biological cost.
A final note about implants:
Implants can be an excellent method of replacing missing teeth. They are free standing, strong and cosmetically pleasing.
They can cause the occasional problem in patients that are under the age of 22 years (have not stopped growing yet), patients that are involved in potential contact sports and those patients that have poor home care.
Looking for dental implants in Newcastle?
There are many types of implants that may be placed nowadays – and restorative options with regard to implant type. Contact Belle Dental to find out more about what is most suited to your circumstances.