At Katoomba Dental Centre, we have several dentists that can offer Implant treatment. We offer several different implant technologies, which allows us to help treat patients with previous implants from elsewhere.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are inserted into the jawbone to replace missing natural teeth. Implants and their attached crowns closely mimic the look and function of real teeth. Dental implant techniques can replace one or several missing teeth. In some patients, an entire set of artificial teeth can be carried on dental implants.
Dental implants consist of a metal root that is inserted into the jawbone. The artificial tooth (crown) is then attached to the implant by use of an abutment, and in some cases an implant can be fitted with special clips or attachments to hold a denture instead.
What solutions do Implants give me?
There are several reasons to get dental implants:
To Secure Dentures: Many people don’t wear dentures, or eventually, stop wearing the dentures they have already had made for the simple reason that they don’t stay in place or are uncomfortable. Dental implants allow you to have a set of dentures secured by several dental implants. By securing the dentures with implants you gain several benefits:
- Restores proper chewing, allowing a better diet and improved health
- Improves speech and confidence
- Increases comfort with less irritation of gum tissue
- Ends the cost and inconvenience of denture adhesives and adjustments
- Minimally invasive procedure
We recommend the use of the Davis Bridge System when considering an implant and denture solution.
Replace a missing tooth: Losing one or more teeth creates a gap in your smile. Affects your ability to chew properly, and can alter your diet and nutrition. In addition, tooth loss can also lead to bone loss in the jaw. A missing tooth can be replaced by a dental implant without altering the healthy adjacent teeth.
Receiving dental implants may give the following benefits:
- Help to withstand greater bite pressures with dentures
- Prevent bone loss in the jaw
- Prevent the formation of hollowed or collapsed cheeks that can occur after tooth extraction
- Are usually surrounded by gum tissue like natural teeth
- May prevent gum recession
- Unlike bridges, do not require the cutting and reshaping of neighbouring teeth
- Are firmly secured in the jaw
- Are usually more comfortable than dentures
- Usually do not require separate care routines or special cleaning products as with dentures.
- Like natural teeth, are cleaned by dental floss, brushing with regular tooth paste, and regular routine check-up and cleans with your dentist.
What is the procedure for Implants?
Different types of implants are available. Most implants are made from materials such as titanium that are capable of forming a strong integration with the surrounding bone tissue. In most cases, the procedure involves three separate treatment stages:
- Insertion of the implant into the bone
- Insertion of the abutment (or connector) on the implant
- Attachment of the artificial tooth (crown) to the abutment or connector.
The process can take considerable time, perhaps from 3-6 months or more from surgical placement of the implant to the fitting of the crown. This depends on factors such as your general and dental health, the amount of bone, rate of healing, degree of integration between implant and the bone, and the extent of any other dental problems.
In some cases, the dentist may insert the implant and affix both the abutment and an artificial tooth during a single operation. However, not every patient is suitable for this single-stage procedure.
The treatment involves the following:
- Preparation of the implant hole: The dentist prepares a site in the gum to expose the underlying bone. A drill prepares a hole in the jawbone to accept the implant. When several missing teeth are being replaced, the number of implants placed depends on the amount of bone available at each site. It is not always necessary to insert one implant per missing tooth because a single implant can support a bridge of artificial teeth.
- Insertion of the implant: The implant is cylindrical and its surface is either threaded or smooth. A threaded implant is screwed into a drilled hole, a moth implant is gently tapped into position. The gum is stitched closed, and the stitches are removed 7-10 days later. Implant stability improves over the weeks and months as bone grows onto the implant surface. This process is called “osseointegration” or “biointegration”.
- Insertion of Abutment: The abutment is fitted after the bone has healed around the implant. The abutment is the support post or connector between implant and crown. The dentist makes an incision into the gum to access the implant and affixes the abutment to the implant. X-rays are taken to ensure the abutment is correctly placed. A dental impression of your mouth may be taken to finalise the design of the artificial tooth (or teeth).
- Attachment of Artificial Tooth: The dentist checks that the implant is strong enough to support the forces exerted by the artificial tooth. If so, the artificial tooth is attached. It may be cemented onto the abutment or fixed to the abutment with a screw that can only be removed by your dentist. Once the artificial tooth has been fitted, x-rays may be taken to ensure the correct placement of all implant components.
- Dentures: Instead of an artificial tooth, an implant can be fitted with special clips or attachments that firmly hold an existing denture in position. The aim is to improve the stability of the denture. Most patients report good results.
- After the implant has been completed it is highly recommended to maintain the implants like you would for any of your normal teeth. This is done through regular oral health care and your routine maintenance every 6 months with your dentist.