Tony Heilberg Dentistry

Dental Implants

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. They provide a strong foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth as the titanium used, integrates into the bone. Crowns on dental implants are made to match you natural teeth, making them the closest thing to natural tooth replacement.

What are the advantages of dental implants?

Dental implants provide a vast range of benefits. Our patients have experienced:

  • Improved appearance. Dental implants are strong, stable and designed to look, feel, fit and function like a natural tooth.
  • Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
  • Improved comfort. Because dental implants fuse into the bone, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
  • Easier eating. Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favourite foods with confidence and without pain.
  • Improved self-esteem. Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.
  • Improved oral health. Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
  • Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
  • Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.

How successful are dental implants?

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%. With proper care, implants can last for a period in excess of 15 years.

Can anyone get dental implants?

If you have missing teeth dental implants may be appropriate for you. In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Xrays and  3D scans will determine if you have adequate bone available. Certain risk factors are associated with lower success rates, but do not necessarily preclude you from implant treatment. These include diabetes, previous bisphosphanate medication, smoking and the presence of uncontrolled gum disease.

What is involved in getting a dental implant?

The first step is preparing an individualised treatment plan, which addresses your specific needs.

Next is the placement of the dental implants. This is a minor surgical procedure, usually performed with local anaesthetic. A small post made of titanium is placed into the bone socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it grows around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw. It can take several months for the implants to fully integrate. This process may involve referral to a specialist oral surgeon or periodontist.

Once the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the replacement tooth or teeth are connected to the implant/s.

How painful are dental implants?

Most people who have received dental implants say there is very little discomfort involved in the procedure. Local anaesthetic is usually used during the procedure and most patients report that implants involve less pain than a tooth extraction.

After the dental implant, mild soreness can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications.

How do I care for dental implants?

Dental implants require the same care as real teeth, including brushing, flossing, rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash and regular dental check-ups. Inflammation can develop in the surrounding gums and bone if dental hygiene is ineffective (peri‐implantitis). If left untreated, peri‐implantitis can lead to the loss of the implant and possibly the restoration.