Dental Implants

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Free Dental Implant Consultation

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What are dental implants?

Dental implants are a fixed, permanent, long-term solution to replace missing teeth.

They are the most functional tooth replacement option and will look, feel and perform just like a natural tooth.

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is securely anchored into the jawbone and replaces the root of a missing natural tooth. A dental crown (artificial tooth) is then attached to the top of the implant to fill the gap of the missing tooth.

Dental implants restore the aesthetic appearance and chewing function of a missing tooth. They can be used in either the upper or lower jaws, or both.

At VC Dental we can replace any number of missing teeth with dental implants.

Dental implants

How does a dental implant work?

A dental implant is a titanium screw that is surgically inserted into the jawbone to give you similar support and anchorage of a natural tooth root.

An abutment, which is a connecting device, is placed onto the top of the implant. A ceramic dental crown is then attached to the abutment to complete the restoration. The dental crown will be custom coloured and designed to match your existing teeth.

Dental implants are made from a strong medical-grade titanium material which is biocompatible with the jawbone. Over time, the artificial root integrates (biologically bonds) with your natural jawbone in a process called osseointegration.

Dental implant labelled

 

Dental implants diagram

 

What are dental crowns?

A dental crown is a custom-made, permanent restoration. Basically, a dental crown is an artificial tooth.

Dental crowns are cemented onto the top of dental implants (via the connecting abutment) to replace a missing tooth.

Dental crowns are made out of ceramic (porcelain) which is a highly aesthetic material. They are seamlessly matched to the shape and colour of your existing teeth. A dental crown will look, function and feel just like a natural tooth.

When cemented into place, crowns completely cover the entire visible portion of the tooth that lies at and above the gum line.

Dental crown on an implant

Advantages of dental implants

A special relationship exists between your teeth and your jawbone.

The bone surrounding your teeth is called alveolar bone, and it exists solely to support your teeth and hold them in place. During function (such as biting), the roots of your teeth are constantly stimulating the bone to maintain itself.

When a tooth is lost, it leaves behind a hole in the jawbone where the tooth roots used to be. With the root missing, there is no longer load (biting) forces to stimulate the bone. Over time, the body’s natural response is to begin resorbing the bone in that area (it will shrink and deteriorate) because it is no longer needed to hold the tooth in place. This shrinking process is called atrophy and is a similar process to the atrophy experienced when muscles are no longer used or stimulated.

When the dental implant osseointegrates with the jawbone, it becomes embedded within the bone and promotes bone growth. Once the implant has become part of the jawbone, it stimulates the bone internally just like a natural tooth root. This mimics the natural tooth, root and bone relationship.

The biggest advantage of dental implants is that they help restore function to the jawbone and minimise or prevent ongoing bone loss in your jaw.

Compared to other tooth replacement options (including dental bridges and dentures), other advantages of a dental implant include:

  • Permanent:
    A dental implant never has to be removed for cleaning or sleeping.
  • Long lasting:
    Due to the fact a dental implant fuses (osseointegrates) with your natural jawbone, they can last a lifetime when properly cared for.
  • Improved comfort:
    The dental implant will feel just like a natural tooth. It will not slip in your mouth, require bracing from other teeth, or require removal.
  • Restore full bite force and chewing power:
    Dental implants are secure enough to let you confidently chew the food you enjoy.
  • Easy to care for:
    Dental implants don’t require special products or techniques to clean and care for them. You brush and floss them just as you would your natural teeth.
  • Protect your natural dentition:
    Dental implants do not require the support or preparation of adjacent teeth.
  • Keep the adjacent teeth stable:
    The gap from a missing tooth can cause adjacent teeth to shift towards or into the gap. This can result in crooked teeth and a misaligned bite.
  • Prevent changes in the shape of your face:
    Dental implants support the growth and maintenance of your jawbone, which in turn supports your facial structure. Bone loss can cause facial sagging, where the distance between the nose and the chin begins to close (‘collapse’).

Dental implants procedure

Prior to the procedure:

Firstly, digital radiographs (X-rays) including an OPG (orthopantomogram) and a 3D Cone Beam CT scan are taken to assist with dental implant planning and placement. This will allow us to assess a number of factors including your bone structure and bone density. Depending on the jawbone condition, a bone graft, or bone graft and sinus lift, may be required prior to implant placement to ensure implant vitality. If required these procedures can be performed by our experienced dentists in our surgery.

Dental implant process:

Placement of implant:

The titanium implant screw is surgically inserted into the jawbone. A healing cap is placed over the dental implant to allow the soft tissue (gum) to heal around the area.

Once placed, the implant is allowed time to osseointegrate (attach to the natural bone).

Placement of healing abutment and temporary tooth:

The healing cap will be replaced with a healing abutment. The healing abutment allows for the gum to form a ‘collar’ around the base of the crown (tooth) area.

A temporary tooth will be provided over the healing abutment for you to wear for the remainder of the healing process. Depending on your particular case we will use either a composite crown, partial denture or suck-down retainer. The temporary tooth will look natural and will be matched to your existing teeth colour.

Impressions:

At your impression appointment, the healing abutment and temporary tooth will be briefly removed, and an impression coping will be placed on the implant.

Impressions of the dental implant and surrounding teeth are taken. These impressions are sent to a dental laboratory to manufacture your final abutment and ceramic dental crown.

The healing abutment and temporary tooth will be replaced at the end of the appointment.

Placement of final restoration:

Once your final abutment and ceramic dental crown have been received from the dental lab, you will attend a cementation appointment. The healing abutment and temporary tooth will be removed, and your final abutment will be attached. We will then check the abutment and final dental crown for fit, and make sure you are comfortable and happy with the result. Once confirmed, your permanent ceramic crown will be either cemented onto the abutment, or screwed into the abutment.

 

 

Consequences of leaving a gap from a missing tooth

Leaving gaps in the dentition from a missing tooth, or missing teeth, can result in a range of complications and consequences including:

  • Tooth shifting causing malocclusion (‘bad bite’). The gap from a missing tooth can cause drifting movement of the adjacent or opposing teeth (adjacent teeth can ‘sink’ into the empty gap, and if the gap is in the lower jaw the opposing upper teeth can ‘drop’ downwards). This can then cause other teeth to move out of alignment.
  • Loss of biting efficiency.
  • Negative impact on diet.
  • Increased biting load on surrounding teeth as the natural force distribution is altered. This can lead to tooth mobility, cracking and increased wear of the biting surface on the remaining teeth and restorations.
  • Increased frequency of restorations/fillings, due to increased wear on the biting surfaces.
  • Bone loss (atrophy), which is the shrinkage and deterioration of the jawbone.
  • Facial sagging (‘aged appearance’) which can be caused by bone atrophy.
  • Aesthetic impact on smile.
  • Shrinkage of the gum where the tooth has been removed, which can expose the sensitive surface (dentine) of the surrounding teeth.

Interested in dental implants?

Free initial consultation:

If you are interested in dental implants, we offer free dental implant consultations to see if they could be right for you. At these consultations we provide general advice and cost estimates. There is no obligation for you to on-book or continue treatment.

Comprehensive consultation:

If you would like to proceed, the next step is a comprehensive consultation. This involves a full examination of your dentition (teeth) and digital radiographs (X-rays) including an OPG (orthopantomogram) and a 3D Cone Beam CT scan. This will allow us to assess a number of factors including your bone structure and bone density to see if dental implants could be a viable option for you. We will explain all available treatment options and provide a full itemised treatment plan for your consideration.

Our quality promise

At VC Dental we only use the highest quality products from the world leading brands in implant dentistry. Our dentists work with Nobel Biocare, Straumann and Ankylos, which are benchmark systems all over the globe. They offer the latest engineering technology and work to meticulous specifications so we can ensure the very best results for our patients. These implants are fully functional and very natural looking just like real teeth, and offer long lasting superior quality.

Dental implant restoration options

Single or multiple missing teeth with individual dental implants:

We can replace a single missing tooth with a dental implant, or we can also replace multiple missing teeth each with their own individual dental implants.

This will restore your smile in the most natural and secure way possible, with each missing tooth receiving an artificial root (implant) and tooth (dental crown).

The procedure involves the placement of a titanium dental implant for each missing tooth in the jawbone. Once healed each implant will be restored with an abutment and ceramic dental crown to seamlessly match your existing teeth.

Multiple missing teeth with implant-supported bridges:

If you have multiple missing teeth, implant-supported bridges can be used to replace them.

A dental bridge is a permanent prosthetic appliance that consists of two or more dental crowns (artificial teeth) connected to each other to form one piece.

An implant-supported bridge is similar to a regular bridge, but it is supported by dental implants on either end (instead of by natural teeth). Not every crown within the bridge will require an implant.

The dental crowns in the middle that will not require dental implants are called ‘pontics’, and the dental crowns on either end of the bridge that will be attached to dental implants are called ‘retainer crowns’.

When multiple implants are required, they can all be placed during the same appointment.

You can read more about implant-supported bridges here.

Implant supported dental bridge

 

All teeth missing (no teeth):

Full arch implant-supported bridge prosthesis (‘all-on-4’ / ‘all-on-6’):

A full arch implant-supported bridge prosthesis, also called a full arch reconstruction, replaces the entire dentition (all the teeth) on either the upper or lower jaws, or both. You may have heard of these as “all-on-4” or “all-on-6” dental implant-based reconstructions.

These dental implants can safely support a whole arch of permanent, natural looking artificial teeth using only 4 or 6 dental implants (depending on your particular case).

An advantage of this procedure is that it does not require bone grafting, as some of the implants are inserted on an angle. Therefore it is suitable for patients who may not have the required bone density for multiple individual dental implants.

The prosthesis (bridge) can be made out of ceramic or acrylic, and may or may not include natural-looking artificial gum depending on a number of factors (including how much bone height is available).

You can read more about full arch bridges here.

all-on-6 dental implant

all-on-6 dental implant

all-on-6 dental implant

 

Overdenture:

Dental implants can be used to stabilise a denture.

An overdenture (or implant-supported denture) is a removable complete denture that is attached to fixed dental implants. Usually two implants are used. The denture has special attachments that snap onto (and off) the implants.

A regular complete denture is supported by only gum tissue, whereas an overdenture is supported by both the gum tissue and the dental implants. Overdentures are a more stable solution to traditional dentures and offer enhanced support, comfort and durability.

In comparison to a regular complete denture (supported only by gum tissue), an overdenture can help reduce shrinkage of the jawbone, preserve facial structure, and distribute the force load during biting more evenly, which stabilises the denture and helps protect the underlying bone.

However, it’s important to note that overdentures are not fixed appliances. They need to be removed daily to be cleaned, and must not be worn during sleep.

You can read more about overdentures on our dentures page here.

Overdenture

Overdenture

 

Please note, any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should obtain personal advice from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.