Dental implants Greensborough
Sometimes a tooth requires extraction, or is lost and can’t be replaced. Dental implants can help restore function to your smile.
If you have lost a tooth, or it’s too far gone for a successful root canal treatment, your dentist may suggest having a dental implant placed. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, surgically implanted into your jaw. This implant will eventually hold a replacement tooth or bridge, supporting your final enhancement without having to rely on the neighbouring teeth for assistance.
How is a dental implant placed?
An implant is a permanent fixture (usually titanium) that is embedded into your jaw. This procedure is usually performed in-clinic, though if the patient prefers surgery, it can also be completed in a hospital setting as an out-patient. Implants are generally a three-step journey and, depending on your case, the final step can go one of two ways. For single tooth replacements, your implant will have a full crown placed over it, for multiple missing teeth a bridge will be placed.
Step One: The implant is surgically buried flush with the bone, under the gum. This protects the implant from any force as it heals.
Step Two: At the end of this healing process some of the overlying gum is then removed to expose the implant. At this stage, we will check the implant to make sure integration was successful, and an “abutment” is placed. Abutments are essentially a “post” in which the crown or bridge will be placed. This is then allowed to heal so the gum creates a “cuff” or “collar”. Through this, the dentist has access to the implant during the final process of the restoration.
Step Three: The final step is assessing the healing process, and placing the final enhancement. The final enhancement will either be a crown or a bridge, and will have been discussed with your dentist prior to the treatment commencing.
Why should I have a tooth replaced?
This is possibly the most commonly asked question. After all, your lost tooth hasn’t given you any grief to date – right? So why spend more money on replacing a tooth when it isn’t bothering you? Well, your teeth play more roles in your mouth than just chewing your food, which is why it’s important to have missing teeth replaced. The majority of the damage caused by losing a tooth happens under the surface. Replacing a tooth isn’t so much about the tooth as it is about preserving the bone.
Your teeth make brief contact with each other hundreds of times a day: when you chew, talk, drink etc. These fleeting moments of contact provide stimulation to the jaw and alveolar bone, enabling these bones to maintain their density. This stimulation also enables the bone to remodel and rebuild. If a tooth is lost, it not only negatively impacts the position which has been left vacant, it also affects the tooth (and effectively the bone) opposite as it has essentially lost its “partner”. This loss of stimulation causes a 25% decrease in bone width during the first year, and an overall decrease of 4mm in height over the following years. Eventually, chewing ability and speech may be impaired, with the cheeks hollowing out. Overall, while having a piece of titanium implanted into the bone seems a bit daunting, the future health benefits far outweigh ignoring the issue.