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What are dental implants? 

Dental implants replace missing roots, and can support dental crowns that look and feel just like your own teeth. You will be able to eat and drink whatever you like without the inconvenience of removable dentures, plates or missing teeth. Dental implants consist of a titanium implant post which is placed in the bone and an implant crown which is made of ceramic or zirconia. Together they produce a strong, aesthetic result.

How are dental implants used to replace a single tooth?

Firstly a CBCT is taken which provides a 3 dimensional view of the bone available in the implant site. The CBCT along with an impression of the area are then used to plan the ideal placement of the implant post. A surgical guide is produced which we use to ensure the implant is placed with precision. We wait up to 6 months for the bone to grow around the implant (osseointegration) to hold the implant firmly in place. Once osseointegration is reached a scan of the area is taken and a dental crown is made. The crown connects to the implant via a small internal screw and this is covered over with filling material.

How are dental implants used to replace multiple teeth with a fixed bridge? 

When a few adjacent teeth are missing or badly damaged, multiple dental implants may be placed to support a single dental bridge. For example the diagram below shows 2 dental implant posts supporting 3 dental implant crowns to replace 3 teeth in total. An implant bridge differs to a traditional bridge as it does not involve cutting into the healthy adjacent teeth. This avoids complications with these teeth.

What are the benefits?

Dental implants provide a fixed, strong and aesthetic replacement option for missing teeth. They will allow you to eat all your favourite foods while looking and feeling like a natural tooth. Dental implants do not require the adjacent teeth to be cut into. This avoids the risk of complications to these teeth.

What are the risks?

here are risks involved in implant placement which your dentist will discuss with you during your appointment. Smokers and patients with severe or untreated gum disease have an increased risk of the implant becoming loose and ultimately failing. For these reasons we do not reccommend implants for smokers and we require patients with gum disease to undergo treatment for this prior to implant placement.

How do I take care of my implant?

Good oral hygiene and gum health are vital for the long term success of dental implants. You will need to clean the implant with dental floss or an interproximal brush (pikster) daily. We recommend regular visits for dental hygiene appointments, at least twice a year. The bone around the implant should be checked every 2 years with a radiograph, as part of your regular 6 monthly dental check-up.

Ready to find out more? Visit our Naracoorte clinic for a free implant consultation.

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