Implants win hands down

When considering your perfect solution to tooth loss, dental implants are the clear winner…

Whether tooth loss has been a result of injury or disease, the patient is left with a gap in their teeth ad implants win hands down.

Depending on where the space is will influence the patient’s desire to fill the void from the appearance point of view.

Remember, people judge you by your appearance and a gap at the front of your smile is not going to make the best impression on your audience! Not only this, but a gap at the back might adversely affect your dental health leading to food packing, tooth drifting, tooth tilting, gum disease and difficulty eating.

The Options…

These days’ bridges and dentures are not the only answer to tooth loss; with the advancement of dental technology there is now a better solution. If you have a choice between either a plastic or metal-based denture that moves in function to some degree and that should be taken out at night, against a crown fitted to an osseo-integrated (integrated into the bone with new bone growing on its surface) dental implant that is part of you just like the tooth it replaces, the choice is not a difficult one.

There are times when a removable denture is the right choice for a patient but increasingly we opt for implants as technology progresses and allows us solutions to problems that previously prevented implants being used, such as a shortage of bone density in the jaw.

The Fixed Implant Option…

This “fixed” solution (fitted permanently – not removable) involves the securing of a threaded pure titanium implant into the bone at the site of a lost tooth. To achieve this there must be adequate bone to fix the implant. However, often the tooth has been lost for some time and sadly by the time we get to treat the patient, the bone at the site has been resorbed (disappeared).

Technology to the Rescue…

It is fortunate that now we can use bone grafting materials to re-build the original contour of the bone either before placing the implant or in conjunction with the surgery while placing the implant in the remaining bone. There are many techniques but attending a surgeon who has extensive experience in implant surgery and bone grafting will ensure the best chance of success and the best management of the soft tissues (the gum). Careful handling of the gum tissue is very important to minimise gum recession after surgery. It is the soft tissue management that will largely dictate the outcome from an appearance point of view.

It’s All About the Planning…

Good planning requires very good imaging and it is now the accepted gold standard to obtain Cone Beam CT imaging of the site of interest to allow careful planning using specially designed software. This ensures you get the implant of the most appropriate size (diameter and length) to ensure preservation of bone. It also makes sure the implant positioning can be accurately measured to 0.1mm accuracy to allow the best surgical placement and consequently the best design of restoration to replace the missing tooth thereby achieving an aesthetically pleasing as well as truly functional restoration.
Dental implants can be used in many ways to replace a single tooth, a number of teeth next to each other, or even a complete arch of teeth.

Immediate or Delayed Implants…

Sometimes it is possible to place the implants at the same time as the teeth are removed. This can reduce the healing time enormously and allow the patient to have their replacement teeth within only a few months. In rare cases it can even be possible to provide the replacement teeth within 48 hours but this is not a usual outcome and is normally applied to multiple connected implants supporting a fixed bridge.

Implants Are Not For Everyone…

Implants are a very popular and versatile way to replace teeth, but it must be remembered that they should not be placed into patients who have active gum disease with destructive chronic inflammation present known as Periodontitis. The inflammation caused by periodontitis is just as able to destroy bone around implants as it can around teeth. However, once a “Gum-Disease-Patient” has been treated and successfully stabilised, then they can go ahead with implant dentistry.

Dental Hygienist Therapy is Important…

We always examine our patients to ensure that if there is any sign of gum disease it is first eliminated before implants are placed, as we are committed to providing you with the best treatment and like you, we want to protect your investment. We provide all our implant patients with a free dental hygienist appointment on completion of implant therapy to ensure they know exactly how to clean the replaced teeth and the implants for the rest of their life. Remember, long term care and long term maintenance are fundamental to success.

Using Implants to Retain Dentures (Overdentures)

One of the most useful techniques for patients who have suffered severe and extensive Periodontitis with extensive tooth loss or even loss of all teeth, is to have their dentures attached to dental implants using what are called “Precision Attachments”. These two-part devices are used to keep the denture in the mouth and prevent it moving during eating, speaking and laughing. One part is screwed onto the implant that is placed into the jawbone and the other part is fitted into the denture. The two connect together when the denture is inserted, providing a strong result. The denture is then referred to as an “Over-denture” as it is worn “over” implants to keep it in the mouth.

Over-dentures are most commonly used in the lower jaw where dentures unfortunately move around a great deal due to all the moving structures around them including the lips, cheeks, and of course the tongue.

If you have a friend or family member who has problems wearing their denture, this may be the solution they have been waiting for. They should contact us and we can explain what can be done to make their quality of life far better.

All these implant treatment techniques are available at NQ Surgical Dentistry and we are always happy to advise on the best solution to a patient’s individual dental problems.

To discover more about our tooth loss solutions or to book a consultation at our Townsville dental practice, please do not hesitate to contact us

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