The process of getting a dental implant
Dental implants are a fantastic solution to replace a missing or diseased tooth. However, it must be remembered that it’s not as simple as walking into the surgery in the morning and walking out with a new implant in the afternoon. There is a process that must be followed and there are some cases where a dental implant may not be a suitable option.
Before you go down the implant path, there are alternative options that might be better suited to some patients.
A diseased tooth may be successfully managed with a root canal treatment. A denture or bridge are other treatment options to be explored when considering replacing a missing tooth.
Root canals, dentures and bridges
Retaining your own tooth with a root canal treatment should be considered in the first instance. The reality is, nothing will ever feel like your own tooth more than your own tooth. So if root canal treatment is an option, it should be considered. This is often a simple process that will last a reasonable length of time. The main pre-requisite is that there’s enough coronal tooth structure present. Coronal tooth structure is the tooth you can see above the gum, and this is needed to place a suitable filling or crown to seal the top of the tooth and prevent bacteria getting back in to the root canal.
A root canal treated tooth is always going to feel more natural than an implant. This is often a good option for younger patients, as no treatment will last forever, so when the root canal treatment eventually fails, there is still the option to remove the tooth and place an implant.
Another solution for a missing tooth or teeth is to have a bridge fitted. This is simply a manufactured tooth anchored to the teeth on either side of the gap. A bridge can be completed in two to three weeks, whereas an implant is usually a six-to-twelve-month process.
A denture is another very effective and lower cost way to replace missing teeth, or may be an intermediate term solution if other preparation of the teeth is required prior to placing a bridge or implant. It is supported by the surrounding tissues and teeth, and is usually removed at night.
When is an implant necessary?
If there isn’t enough healthy coronal tooth structure for root canal treatment, or a root canal treatment has a poor chance of lasting for other reasons, and the tooth must be removed, then a dental implant can be a good option to replace it. If an old root canal treatment has failed, a dental implant can successfully replace the tooth. If a patient wants a long-term solution to missing or diseased teeth then, once again, dental implants are a fantastic solution.
The process of getting dental implants
Dental implants are often a more expensive option for replacing a missing or diseased tooth, but this is because process to place one is also quite time-consuming and specialized materials are required.
The process begins with a 3D scan to determine if there’s enough bone structure in the jaw and that it’s suitable for anchoring an implant. If the tooth is still present, it will need to be removed and there will usually be a period of between three and six months of healing. During this time a temporary denture or Essix appliance can be made to fill the space of the missing tooth, especially if it is a front one! Sometimes the implant can be placed right after the tooth is taken out but there will still be a period of about six months for healing before the final crown can be joined to the top of it.
Costs are usually staggered, so the patient is not up for the whole cost of the treatment straight away. Usually half of the cost is paid at the start, when the tooth is removed and the implant is put into position.
The actual implant is a titanium screw that is fitted into the jaw. Once the bone has grown around the implant—a period of up to six months—we go on and place the crown on top. An implant crown is the artificial porcelain tooth that’s attached to the top of the implant. The remaining payment is made when the replacement tooth is fitted to the implant and the patient’s smile is restored.
Dental implants give great, natural-looking results and patient satisfaction is extremely high. However, it’s always worth exploring all your options and be aware of the time and costs involved.
If you would like to know more about replacing your missing teeth with dental implants, please call us on (08) 9185 4849 to arrange a consultation with our Dentist.