Monthly Archives: October 2016

How safe are dental implants?

Despite the advancements in dental care along the lines of better treatment methods and increased awareness on how people can take care of their teeth, millions are still suffering from tooth loss. It is mostly caused by gingivitis, tooth decay or in some cases injury. The only treatment options that were available for people with missing teeth were dentures and bridges. But nowadays, one can get dental implants.

What are dental implants?

When one loses their teeth or when they are removed, the whole visible part plus the root are gone. A dental implant is inserted into your jaw bone so it can fuse naturally with it and provide a foundation for the placement of a crown. The implant is usually cylindrical in shape and has a tapered post made of titanium. The implant will need an abutment which is basically a connector that is put on top of the implant. The abutment can sometimes come built onto the implant that connects the implant with the crown.

The procedure

The first step involves creating an individualised treatment plan for the given patient. It is usually done by a team of professionals with experience in restorative dentistry or oral surgery. The plan will address the specific needs of the patient and the implant option that is best for the patient.

Next the implant is inserted into the jaw bone, specifically the socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it will grow around the implant – a process known as osseointegration – fusing with the bone and forming a strong foundation for the replacement tooth. This healing process can take several weeks or even months.

The abutment is then placed on top of the implant which will function to connect the replacement tooth and the implant. The dentist then makes an impression of your teeth and creates a model of your bite which they will use to make the new tooth or teeth. The impression and model of your bite capture details about your teeth which include how they are arranged and their type. The replacement tooth is then attached to the abutment.

Are there any risks?

Teeth replaced through this method function and feel just like natural teeth, which means they require the same level of care and attention as natural teeth. They should be brushed, flossed and regularly checked by the dentist so that they last for the longest time possible and function to their full capacity. Dental implants that have been well-taken care of can last a lifetime. The implants have a high success rate of up to 98%. Most risks arise during the surgical procedure which can range from nerve damage, injury to surrounding structures and sinus problems. These, however, are rare problems and most sessions are successful without any incidents.


Bone Grafting For Dental Implants

Dental implants are needed for a variety of reasons, often due to tooth decay or other medical reasons. Dental implants may be needed due to missing teeth, diseased teeth, gaps in teeth or supporting a new crown, bridge or denture. Before a dental implantation can take place, a bone graft may be needed in some cases where the jawbone isn’t a secure enough base.

What is a bone graft?

A bone graft is one of many surgical procedures completed by a trained dental professional where a piece of healthy bone is transferred to an area where the bone is either missing, damaged or not strong enough.

The bone grafting procedure

1. The patient will be given an anaesthetic to be put into a deep sleep, they will be monitored at all times. Sometimes the procedure can be completed with the patient under intravenous sedation.
2. A local anaesthetic is used to numb the area where the incision is needed.
3. A cut is made into the chin, jaw or other bone area to extract the part that is to be used in the dental implantation.
4. The dentist may cover the area with a thin tissue substance to keep gum tissue from filling the space as it heals.
5. The piece of bone is then transferred to the jawbone. This is often done with pins and stitches to keep a solid base for the new bone to grow. It can take months for the transplanted bone to become solid enough to support a dental implant.

Dental Implantation

After the jawbone has healed from the bone grafting, the dental implantation procedure can then take place.
1. The oral surgeon will place the patient under either local or general anaesthetic.
2. A cut is made into the gum of the affected area in order to expose the bone.
3. Holes are drilled deep into the bone.
4. The dental implant metal posts are implanted into the holes created.
5. Once this is complete, osseointegration begins. This is where the jawbone grows into and merges with the surface of the dental implant. This can take several months.
6. Once osseointegration is complete, the surgeon will once more reopen the gum to expose the implant.
7. The new crown or tooth is then attached to the dental implant.

The entire procedure can take months to complete and the patient may face some swelling and bleeding.