An Insight into the Dental Implant Procedure

Our natural teeth play an essential role in our lives. From aiding digestion to contributing to speech clarity, they shape the aesthetics of our smile, impacting our self-esteem and social interactions. When we lose one or more of these vital structures, the consequences can be more than just cosmetic. Losing teeth can wreak havoc on oral health, causing bone loss in the jaw and unwanted tooth movement. Thanks to modern dentistry, missing teeth can be replaced effectively and permanently using a dental implant procedure. This blog post is here to help you navigate the intricacies of the dental implant process with ease and confidence.

Overview of Dental Implants

teeth implant method brisbane

If you’re looking for a long-lasting solution to issues like missing or failing teeth, or chronic dental problems, dental implants are an increasingly popular and effective option. They mimic the shape of screws and act as artificial tooth roots. Once embedded into the jawbone, they bond with natural bone to create a sturdy base for one or more artificial teeth, referred to as crowns. A connector, or abutment, supports the crowns on top of the dental implant. These crowns are custom-made to mimic natural teeth and fit comfortably. Dental implants stand out as the sole tooth replacement choice that stimulates bone growth, preventing bone loss. As a result, they’re the best option for a solution that closely mirrors natural teeth. They work by providing a strong and stable base for the replacement teeth, allowing them to function just like normal teeth. This ensures the patient can eat, speak, and smile with confidence.

Consultation and Evaluation

The initial consultation is a critical stage of the dental implant procedure. Here, the dentist discusses the patient’s medical history, oral health, and expectations. The oral health status includes any underlying conditions such as gum disease or periodontal disease that may affect the implant process. Also, the dentist assesses the jaw bone’s health, as a sturdy bone structure is vital for the success of dental implant surgery.

The dental profeassional may order dental X-rays or other diagnostic tests to evaluate the jaw bone and adjacent teeth’s condition. If there is insufficient bone volume or bone loss due to gum disease or tooth extraction, the dentist may suggest a bone graft or bone augmentation procedure. This process encourages bone growth, providing a solid base for the implant placement.

Pre-Implant Surgery

tooth implant process brisbane

Bone grafting or minor bone grafting might be necessary for patients with significant bone loss. Bone grafts, sourced either from the patient’s body or synthetic materials, are surgically placed in the area of the missing tooth to encourage bone growth. In cases where the upper jaw bone needs fortification, a procedure called sinus lift might be performed. It’s important to note that this surgical procedure can extend the overall dental implant treatment timeline by several months as the graft needs time to integrate with the natural bone.

The Implant Surgery

The next stage in the dental implant process involves the surgical procedure where the titanium implant – a small metal implant that acts as the artificial tooth root – is surgically inserted into the jaw bone. This procedure is typically performed under local anaesthesia or sedation for the patient’s comfort. Once the implant is securely in place, a protective screw is placed over the implant to facilitate the healing process and prepare for the next stage of the procedure: osseointegration.

Osseointegration

Osseointegration, the process where the dental implant fuses with the jaw bone, is a critical phase in the implant process. This can take several weeks or even months. During this time, the patient may be fitted with a temporary tooth or temporary denture to maintain aesthetics and function.

Abutment Placement

Once osseointegration is confirmed, the next step in the dental implant procedure involves placing an abutment – a small connector post – on the implant. This requires a minor surgery under local anaesthetic, wherein the gum tissue is opened to expose the implant, and the abutment is attached.

Crown Placement

The final step in the dental implant process involves the placement of the artificial tooth or teeth, also known as the crown. The dental practitioner uses impressions of the patient’s mouth to create a prosthetic tooth that matches the colour, shape, and size of the other teeth. This replacement tooth is then affixed to the abutment, completing the implant process and providing the patient with a new tooth indistinguishable from the natural teeth.

Postoperative Care and Recovery

After each stage of the dental implant surgery, patients may experience some discomfort, including swelling, bruising, pain, or minor bleeding. These symptoms are usually manageable with over-the-counter pain medications and should subside within a few days. Following oral surgery, it’s advisable for patients to consume soft foods and maintain strict oral hygiene to avoid postoperative complications.

The Life-changing Benefits of Dental Implants

Here are some significant benefits of dental implants:

1. Natural Appearance and Feel: Implants for your teeth are crafted to seem, sense, and operate just like your original teeth.

2. Restores Bite Force: Unlike other teeth replacement options, dental implants allow you to bite and chew food as if you are using your natural teeth since they’re anchored into your jawbone.

3. Prevents Bone Loss: Upon losing a tooth, bone mass loss in the jaw is another concern. However, dental implants are the only replacement that triggers bone growth while thwarting bone loss, making them the best choice for oral restoration.

4. No Impact on Healthy Teeth: Unlike dental bridges, implants do not require grinding down other healthy teeth.

5. Improves Speech: Because they stay securely in your mouth, dental implants can improve your speech, which dentures might hamper.

6. Easy to Care For: Just like natural teeth, dental implants can be maintained with regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups. Take care and keep up with your oral hygiene routine for a flawless smile that lasts a lifetime!

7. High Success Rate: Dental implants boast a remarkable success rate and, with appropriate care, can endure a lifetime.

Safety of Dental Implant Procedure

Dental implant surgery poses some risks, though they are rare and typically minor. Possible complications include infection, injury to surrounding structures, nerve damage, sinus problems, and implant failure. A thorough consultation and following post-operative instructions can minimise risks. Despite the risks, dental implant surgery is safe and has a high success rate.

Tips For Caring For Your Dental Implants

implant dentist plan brisbane
  1.  Pain Management: It’s normal to experience some discomfort and swelling after implant surgery. Take the prescribed pain medications to manage any discomfort and reduce swelling.
  2. Follow a Soft Food Diet: Stick to a diet of soft foods, such as soup, yoghurt, and mashed potatoes, for a few days after the implant surgery. Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that may damage the new implant.
  3.  Practise Good Oral Hygiene: Maintaining proper oral hygiene is vital to sustaining the health of your dental implant. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and remembering to floss daily are necessary steps to keep your implant healthy.
  4.  Use a Soft-bristled Toothbrush: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently clean around the implant and the adjacent teeth.
  5.  Avoid Smoking and Alcohol: Both smoking and alcohol can hinder the healing process and affect the longevity of your dental implant. It’s best to avoid these, especially during the initial healing period.
  6.  Attend Follow-up Appointments: Make sure to attend all follow-up appointments with your dental practitioner. They will monitor the healing process, ensure that the implant is functioning properly, and adjust as necessary.
  7.  Limit Strenuous Activities: Avoid strenuous activities or exercise for a few days after your surgery, as it could lead to unnecessary bleeding or swelling.
  8. Salt Water Rinses: Rinse your mouth with warm salt water a few times a day. This will help keep the surgical area clean and promote healing.
  9.  Report Any Issues: If you notice any complications, such as persistent pain, prolonged swelling, or loosening of the implant, contact your dentist immediately.

Remember, the longevity of a dental implant largely depends on how well it is cared for. By following these tips, you’re on your way to maintaining a healthy and robust dental implant.

The Cost of Dental Implant Procedure

The cost of a dental implant procedure in Australia can vary widely depending on various factors, including the complexity of the procedure, the number of implants required, the need for additional treatments such as bone grafting, and the location of the dental practice. As a ballpark figure, single dental implant treatments cost typically starts at AUD 3,000 per implant. This cost generally includes the consultation, the implant placement, the abutment, and the crown. However, some cases may incur additional costs for bone grafts, sinus lifts, or extractions. It’s important to remember that while dental implants may seem expensive upfront, they often present a cost-effective solution in the long term due to their durability and high success rate. It is recommended to discuss the total cost and available payment plans with your dental professional or clinic before undergoing the procedure.

Are Dental Implants Covered By Insurance?


different ways dental implants brisbane

In Australia, whether or not dental implants are covered by insurance heavily depends on the specifics of your private health insurance policy. Dental implants are typically considered major dental procedures, so they would be covered under a policy that includes major dental cover. However, the amount of coverage can vary greatly between policies and providers. Some policies may cover a portion of the procedure’s cost, while others may cover the cost up to a certain limit. To ensure you know what your insurance policy covers and what you may need to pay out-of-pocket, it’s important to check with your insurance provider. Note that dental implants are generally not covered under Australia’s public health scheme, Medicare, except in some specific circumstances related to congenital or accidental conditions. Therefore, having a comprehensive private health insurance policy can be beneficial if you’re considering dental implants.

Conclusion

The dental implant procedure offers a life-changing solution for those with missing teeth. From the initial consultation all the way to the final placement of the new tooth, this intricate process consists of several stages. Despite being a long process that can take several months, the results are well worth the wait, offering a strong, durable, and visually pleasing tooth replacement. However, like all surgical procedures, it requires meticulous postoperative care to ensure the best results and a swift recovery. 

At our practice, we take the time to discuss the various stages of treatment with our patients and provide support throughout their journey. If you’re considering dental implants, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We will ensure that you are kept informed every step of the way! 

We look forward to helping you achieve your desired results.

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

References 

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dental-implant-surgery/about/pac-20384622
  2. https://www.perio.org/for-patients/periodontal-treatments-and-procedures/dental-implant-procedures/