There are many reasons why a person might have lost one or more of their teeth: Gum disease, tooth decay, injury, or a genetic condition are some examples of tooth loss.
If the missing tooth is visible, at the front of your mouth, it can have a negative impact on your confidence and self-esteem.
Even if the missing tooth is hidden at the back or side of your mouth, it can impact on the overall function of your mouth, affecting the way you eat and/or talk.
Our teeth are designed to work together, and the consequence of one or more missing teeth are changes in the function of the jaw and surrounding muscles.
Over time, muscle changes can affect the shape of the face.
Changes in bite, to compensate for a missing tooth, can lead to difficulties with chewing, and grinding and sensitivity of the remaining teeth.
If you have a missing tooth or teeth, there are three main treatment options:
- Dental implants
- Dental bridges
- Removable partial dentures
This blog discusses dental implants specifically, answering the most common questions asked about the procedure.
Read on to discover if a dental implant is the right treatment option for you.
What Are Dental Implants And What Are The Made Of?
At Hamilton Dental Centre, we may offer dental implants as a treatment option if you are missing one tooth, or several teeth in different areas of your mouth.
A dental implant is as the name suggests:
A ‘screw’ made of surgical grade titanium alloy metal, is implanted into your jaw, where the tooth should be. This replaces the tooth’s root and provides an anchor onto which a prosthetic tooth is placed.
The dentist will mount a temporary prosthetic tooth (also called a crown), over the implanted screw.
On average it takes 6-8 months for the jaw bone to heal around the implant, further anchoring it into place. At this point, you will come back to the dental centre, and a permanent ceramic tooth will be fixed to the implant.
The ceramic tooth is made specifically for you, and will match perfectly to your other teeth, making it look natural and unnoticeable as a prosthetic tooth.
For more information on the in-house manufacturing process of crowns at Hamilton Dental Centre, check out this blog: https://www.thehamiltondentist.co.nz/news/same-day-crowns-in-hamilton-are-here/
Am I A Good Candidate For A Dental Implant?
You are a perfect candidate for a dental implant procedure if you:
- Have one or more missing teeth.
- Have completed growing through adolescence, and thus your jawbone is completely grown.
- Have adequate bone to secure the implants to.
- Have healthy oral tissues.
- Don’t have health conditions that will affect bone healing.
- Are unable or unwilling to wear dentures.
- Are willing to commit several months to the process.
- Don’t smoke tobacco.
Are Dental Implants Painful?
At the Hamilton Dentist, we do our best to ensure the comfort and safety of our patients.
Our dentists employ pain-free dental care techniques to ensure your comfort during a procedure.
Patients who have undergone a dental implant procedure claim that the anaesthetic administered prior to the procedure kept them pain-free and comfortable throughout.
After the procedure, once the anaesthetic has worn off, most people are able to comfortably manage their pain by taking simple pain killers, such as Paracetamol (Panadol) and Ibuprofen (Nurofen).
How Long After A Dental Implant Can I Eat Normally?
We recommend eating soft, easy to chew food for about a week following the dental implant procedure.
Following this, it is recommended that extremely chewy, hard or crunchy foods are avoided for a period of up to 6 months following the procedure.
This is to allow as little disruption to the new implant as possible, while it undergoes a process called osseointegration.
Osseointegration refers to a phenomenon where an implant becomes fused with the bone, a process which will take on average up to 6 months to complete.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants are intended to be permanent, since the process of osseointegration will fuse the implanted screw with the surrounding jawbone.
While the implant itself is designed to be permanent, the crown that is attached to it may need to be replaced due to normal wear and tear.
The crown can last for up to a period of 25 years before needing to be replaced, but some crowns will need to be replaced before this time.
How Much Are Dental Implants?
Implants have a reputation for being expensive but advances in technology, healthy competition and increased accessibility mean they are as affordable as they’ve ever been.
The cost of dental implants does depend on the situation and complexities involved but we’ll take you through these and the best options for you.
If you would like to book a consultation at Hamilton Dental Centre, to discuss a dental implant to replace your missing tooth, fill in this appointment request, and we will be in touch soon.