1What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a titanium metal replacement for the root of a missing tooth. The implant is placed into the bone of the jaw in the same position as the root of a missing tooth, and an artificial tooth crown is permanently attached to the top of the implant. The implant can be used to replace a single missing tooth, or a number of missing teeth can be replaced with a bridge attached to a smaller number of implants.
2What are the benefits of dental implants?
Implants effectively replace missing teeth as though the original lost tooth has been restored. They look, feel and function like natural teeth. The only alternative treatments for missing teeth are fixed bridges, which involve considerable damage to existing teeth in supporting the bridge, or removable dentures which many patients find intolerable. It is worth noting that even patients who have had dentures for many years can be eligible for denture implants or All-On-4TM dental implants, which are a much more stable, comfortable option.
3What is the procedure for having a dental implant?
Careful planning is required before any treatment begins. This specialised treatment involves clinicians working closely together along with a dental lab.
The timing and processes for treatment can vary greatly. Placing a single implant is usually a short procedure which can be carried out under local anaesthesia in the dental chair. Multiple implants may sometimes be placed under general anaesthesia as a day surgery procedure. Following a waiting period of three to four months, during which the titanium becomes bonded to the bone, the missing teeth or dental implant bridges can be attached. In suitable situations, such as the All-on-4TM procedure, teeth will be attached within a few days of the surgery.
4Are there any complications in having dental implants?
All surgical procedures carry a risk of potential complications. With careful planning, complications are unlikely; however this possibility is thoroughly discussed prior to treatment.
5Is dental implant treatment expensive?
This treatment has high upfront costs, however when this is measured against the long-term success rate, and compared with alternative treatments, dental implant cost is usually viewed as economically reasonable in the long-term.
6What happens if an implant fails?
If the titanium implant fails to integrate with the bone, it can almost always be replaced with a new one. In many instances this will be done at no additional cost to the patient.
7Are there any limitations in having a dental implant?
There are some medical conditions where this treatment should be approached with caution. It is also necessary for adequate jawbone to be available. In some cases, implant bone grafts can assist in augmenting the bone in order for implants to be placed.
8What are All-On-4TM dental implants?
These innovative dental implants enable the permanent replacement of all teeth in either the upper or lower jaw on just four implants (occasionally six may be needed in the upper jaw). Many years of research and clinical trials have demonstrated this to be a highly successful procedure. In most instances the teeth will be fitted within days of the surgery.
9How long has the All-on-4TM dental implant procedure been performed?
The All-on-4TM procedure was developed in Europe and has been carried out for more than 10 years in Australia.
10If I cannot afford new teeth permanently fixed to dental implants, do I have any other choices?
It is possible to use a conventional denture with implants to hold it in securely in place. Such an appliance is called an over-denture. Usually the over-denture is attached to either two or four standard in the lower jaw and four to six standard or mini implants in the upper jaw. Over-denture treatment is less costly than having teeth permanently fixed.
11Will I need to have bone grafts for my implants?
It is not often necessary to have bone grafts in the lower jaw. Occasionally, it is necessary to have a bone grafting procedure in the upper jaw, although the All-on-4TM dental implant procedure has meant that implant bone grafts are required much less frequently than in the past.
12With All-On-4TM dental implants will I have my permanent teeth in the first few days?
As practiced by our team, you will normally be fitted in the first few days with a provisional or temporary set of teeth for up to six months. This temporary set of teeth is relatively inexpensive compared to the final set, and the purpose is to ensure that the shape, colour, size and position of teeth are satisfactory to you. During this time adjustments can be made to the appearance and position of the temporary teeth. When you are satisfied with all aspects of the teeth then the final set of teeth will be made and fitted.
13How painful is dental implant treatment?
Pain levels are usually relatively low following implant placement and can be managed with conventional pain killers such as paracetamol.
14What is a dental prosthetist?
A prosthetist is a dental technician who has undertaken advanced training in order to treat patients who require a range of tooth replacement options such as removable dentures or dentures supported by implants. When providing dental implant bridges and overdentures, prosthetists work with surgical specialists as a team when planning treatment.
15What is a Prosthodontist?
A Prosthodontist is a registered dental specialist who undertakes restorative treatment which includes crowns, bridges, veneers, cosmetic tooth treatments, and implant-supported crowns and bridges.
16Why has my dentist recommended wisdom teeth removal?
Wisdom teeth (third molar teeth) are the last teeth to develop in the jaws and sometimes there is not enough room for them. If they remain partly or completely under the surface they may be associated with a number of potential complications. The most common complications are infection around the wisdom tooth, and decay of either the wisdom tooth or the second molar tooth in front of the wisdom tooth.
17My friends have had oral surgery for wisdom teeth removal in a Melbourne hospital under an anaesthetic. Is it safe?
Modern anaesthesia techniques have an outstanding safety record in Australia and the combination of the drugs used during anaesthesia for wisdom teeth extractions will result in most patients having a very safe and comfortable experience.
To schedule an appointment with Dr Ferguson at his Melbourne practices in Box Hill and Bulleen please call 03 9898 1877 or enquire online at [email protected]