The development of dental implants is one of the most significant innovations in dental medicine. More than just for the aesthetics of your smile, replacing missing teeth is important for your long-term oral health. In addition to holding your tooth in place, a tooth root also preserves the health and integrity of the surrounding jawbone. Without the root, the bone will begin to reduce in size. Teeth on either side of the space can move and become crooked affecting your bite function, as well as your appearance.
Made from medical grade titanium, a dental implant is a substitute for a natural tooth root and becomes the new foundation to support a crown, a bridge, or a denture.
In order to plan for implants, Dr Baetz will conduct a thorough assessment of the health of your gums and jawbone to ensure that they are able to support implants. Dr Baetz will usually need specialised detailed radiographs to examine the bone and he will then be able to develop a tailored treatment plan for you.
Implants are generally screwed into the bone under simple local anaesthesia in the dental chair. After about three months, the restorations can be placed upon the implants. There are many different protocols for implant treatments, and the most appropriate protocol will be selected for your situation after appropriate diagnosis, and discussion of the various options with you.
Most patients report that they experience very little to no discomfort during and following placement, often returning to their normal daily work or social life the next day. Some patients may experience minor post-surgical swelling or a dull ache. Simple over-the-counter pain relief medication may be required to ease post-operative discomfort. Most other complications are site specific and they will be discussed with you as appropriate.
During the placement procedure, a very small incision is made in your gum and your implant is carefully guided into the most suitable position as determined by the previously taken x-rays and examination. Once in place, a temporary crown or bridge may be secured to your implant if is replacing a front tooth or teeth so you can retain your full smile. More commonly however, a temporary denture is used for this purpose. All of these options will be discussed with you before you proceed with the implant placement procedure. It will usually take between two and six months for your implant to fully integrate with your jawbone. You may be required to attend for periodic checkup appointments with Dr Baetz so that he can monitor your healing progress. For larger cases requiring more complex surgical procedures, Dr Baetz works in conjunction with specialist surgeons, who have general anaesthetic, and intravenous sedation facilities available to them.
Once your implant has bonded with your jawbone, we take impressions so that the final restorations can be fabricated at a dental laboratory experienced in the fabrication of such devices. These final restorations are generally placed about two weeks later.
Although your implant is titanium and your replacement teeth are porcelain, your natural teeth and surrounding gums are still susceptible to gum disease. Indeed poor oral hygiene procedures, and importantly smoking, are linked to failure of the gum and bone around teeth. It is thought wise to provide the same level of care to implants, as to teeth, because implants do sometimes fail. The details and modes of failure, and statistical probabilities will be discussed with you fully before any treatment is begun. Therefore continual oral health examinations and preventative maintenance appointments with our hygienist, usually every six months, in addition to at home care is necessary to keep both your teeth, and all of your restorations, in your mouth for as long as possible.
Please note any surgical or invasive procedure carries risk. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion by a suitably qualified healtchare professional.