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Dental Implants Townsville Home
Dental Implants Townsville

Dental implants are titanium inserts that are surgically placed in the jaw bone to act as artificial roots to replace missing natural teeth. Implant supported crowns appears quite natural and are strong, making them an attractive alternative to dentures/ bridges. With good planning, dental implants can replace one or more teeth and in some cases, a full denture set can be carried on dental implants.

Dental implants help to withstand heavy biting forces, protects the alveolar bone and reduces bone loss after loss of natural tooth, prevents gum recession, prevents facial changes due to missing teeth – like collapse of face height/sinking in of cheeks. Implants emerge from within the gums making the artificial tooth appear natural. Unlike dentures/ bridges, dental implants do not need any grinding of adjacent teeth. Implants are firmly secured in the bone, making the prosthesis stable in the mouth. They are known to be more comfortable compared to dentures and bridges. Dental implants do not require any special hygiene products as with dentures or bridges and are cleaned with regular brushing and flossing.

Dental implants are designed to last for life. Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. However, poor oral hygiene can shorten life of implants. Immaculate hygiene and regular professional maintenance is critical for implants. Like natural teeth, implants can develop plaque/ calculus deposits if not maintained properly, making oral hygiene maintenance critical. Properly maintained implants anchor to bone like natural teeth and lasts for a long time, although repairs may be expected like any other dental work.

IS IMPLANT A RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOU?

Please feel free to have an obligation free consultation with our dentist to discuss Dental Implants as a treatment option for your missing teeth. If you decide to opt for implants, we will make sure you are a suitable candidate for the procedure. While most people can have dental implants, there are a few exceptions.

  1. Gum infection: People that have active untreated gum infections with bone loss may not be suitable for implants. Gum treatment has to be performed prior to assessing bone augmentation procedures to rebuild lost bone at implant site for the surgical procedure.
  2. Growing people: Adolescents and young adult with incomplete skeletal growth have to wait for complete cessation of growth before opting for implants. Boys grow for a longer period of time compared to girls. As a rule of thumb, people younger than 17 years of age may not be eligible for prosthetic implants. Otherwise, age is generally not a restriction.
  3. Smoking: Smoking is known to cause reduction in blood supply to gums, hence decreasing immunity and impairing healing. This can prevent successful integration of bone to implant. Over time, smoking may cause failure of Osseo-integration causing the implant to fail.
  4. Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as patients under Immunosuppressant, uncontrolled Diabetes, and Terminal AIDS have an increased risk of complications such as infections and delayed healing of implants. People with bleeding conditions, heart diseases such as Rheumatic fever, Cancer treatment undergoing radiotherapy near facial region, people allergic to Local Anaesthesia, Antibiotics and Implant material.
  5. Pregnancy: Its’ best to avoid any medications and elective surgical procedure during pregnancy that may risk the unborn child’s health. However, women can opt for implants after child birth.
  6. Patients unable to follow dentists’ instructions are not an ideal candidate for implants. This might include people with alcoholism, alcoholics and drug addicts.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Dental Implants?

In general, dental implants are covered by dental insurance at this time. Dental Implants come under Dental Extras and usually have a gap for the amount of cover. Health Precinct has affiliated with Denticare that offers an interest free credit for Implant treatments. There is also an option to choose MACCredit for immediate financial needs and longer repayment options. Detailed questions about your individual needs, how they relate to insurance cover and gap should be discussed with us and your insurance provider.

What happens next?

The first step in the dental implant process is the development of an individualized treatment plan. The plan addresses your specific needs and is prepared by our team of professionals who are specially trained and experienced in oral surgery and restorative dentistry. We take a thorough medical and dental history as preparation for your implant procedure. We expect you to disclose your complete medical history and drug list at the planning stage. We need to perform a few diagnostic tests to confirm that you are eligible for the procedure. These tests might include:

  1. Complete dental examination
  2. Orthopantomogram (OPG)
  3. Photographs
  4. CT scans of the jaws
  5. Dental scans/ models of your jaws.

Decision on the type, size and length of implant will be determined based on the investigations. All other dental problems needs to be treated before implant placement. Dental implant, which is a small post made of titanium, is placed into the bony socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbones heals, the implant gets integrated with bone, anchoring securely in the jaws. This healing process takes 4-6 months. Once the implant has bonded with the jawbone, a small connector post called ‘Abutment’, is attached to the post to hold your custom made new crown/ prosthesis. To make false teeth, we might take impression of implant or even scan it. Instead of one or more individual crowns, some patients may have attachments placed on the implant that retain and support a removable denture.

 Dental implants and crowns may get damaged by excessive grinding of teeth. If you have flattened teeth, chipped enamel and broken fillings, you probably are grinding your teeth to cause them to wear. In such cases, we might recommend you some modifications in your treatment plan, which might include: more number of implants to distribute load, crowns with stronger material or even a night guard or a splint to protect implants while you sleep.

How painful are Dental Implants?

Most patients that have received dental implants say that there is very little discomfort involved in the procedure. Local anaesthesia will be used during the procedure and patients report that implants are less painful than a tooth extraction. However, all patients that undergo implant procedure in Health Precinct are advised to take over-the-counter pain medication.  Mostly patients do get a script for pain relief after their procedure.

What can you expect?

Not all dental procedures produce ‘life-like’ results. Some cases are challenging and results may be less satisfying than expected. Discuss your expectations with us before initiating the procedure. False teeth may not feel exactly like your natural teeth. Usually you will get used to the feel and chewing with new teeth. Regular check-ups and maintenance is critical for making dental implants last a life time. Though Implants have a very high success rate, no dentist can guarantee implant surgery to be successful.

What are the possible complications of Dental Implants?

Dental implants, like all other surgical procedures carry some degree of risk. If you have particular concerns, we recommend you write a list of questions to discuss with us. Following are the list of a few complications that the enumerated to inform you, not to alarm you. There may be other risks that are not listed.

General Complications include allergies to anaesthetics, bleeding from the surgical area and infection of the wound that may require antibiotics.

Specific risks of implant surgery are:

  1. Damage to nerve: The inferior alveolar nerve runs right below the molar teeth along the length of your lower jaw. Any pressure from the implant on the nerve can cause numbness of the gums, teeth, lips or the skin around your mouth. The numbness is temporary and resolves within the first 6-18 months. In a few cases, relieving the pressure by loosening the implant reverses the symptoms, but in some cases, the effect can be permanent.
  2. Sinus infection: Sinuses are air-filled cavities with in the skull. Implants that are inserted in the upper jaw can sometimes contact or perforate the sinus causing infection (sinusitis). Antibiotics usually resolves sinisutis.Very rarely can an implant slip into the sinus. These implants are useless and are often referred as ’dead implants’. Occasionally, these implants demand removal from a specialist.
  3. Inhaling/ swallowing equipment or implant parts: Patients may sometimes inhale or swallow equipment/ little implant parts. This can cause a range of complications that needs medical investigations and attention. Surgery may be needed to remove the aspirated parts too.

Implant complications include:

  1. Gums growing over the implants. Gingival overgrowth can cause swelling and redness of the gums around the implant. Usual cause of this hyperplasia is plaque due to poor oral hygiene. Gingival overgrowth may be surgically removed and reversed by meticulous oral hygiene.
  2. Speech problems: Some patients have speech problems following fitting of implants. Usually patients get used to the new implant and prosthesis over a period of time and their speech gets resolved.
  3. Local infections can be caused due to poor oral hygiene. Improving hygiene and a course of antibiotics resolves the infection.
  4. Loosening of false tooth: Occasionally implant or crown that is fitted can get loose. If implant is not integrated with bone, it becomes unstable over time. The implant must be removed and another inserted into jawbone. Alternatively, bone might be given some time to heal and a second implant inserted in the same place. If the crown has loosened, it requires tightening or replacement of the screw.