Don't let missing teeth limit your life
If you are missing any of your natural teeth, implant dentistry can provide you with teeth that look and feel like your very own. Permanent replacement teeth can be yours without the embarrassment of loose dentures or having to cut into other healthy teeth in your mouth. An attractive cosmetic smile is possible. Implants will enable you to enjoy the simple pleasures of unrestricted eating. With dental implants you can have the confidence to pursue an active business and social life. Many people choose implants to preserve their facial bones. Conventional dentures usually lead to accelerated bone loss.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are titanium posts with specially activated surfaces. They are placed (implanted) in your jawbone to function a similar way to a natural tooth root. Your bone grows onto the implants in a process called Osseointergration. After a few months the implants will form a permanent part of your body.
Are implants safe and how long do they last?
Present day implants are based on scientific evidence and have shown a success rate of more than 90%. Many dentists now agree that implants are one of the most predictable forms of dental treatment, and in most cases it is a life-long solution. More than half a million people will receive dental implants this year. Make sure that you are one of them.
Might I be suitable?
X-rays will be needed to see if you have sufficient quality and quantity of bone. Diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes or leukaemia can affect the bone growing onto the implant and will need careful assessment. In general, most people are suitable candidates for implants.
Does it hurt?
A small procedure will be necessary. It is usually possible to place the implants in the dentist's rooms. In some cases general anaesthetic is preferable, and this will require a visit to a medical clinic or a hospital. Some patients do experience one or two days of discomfort after the procedure, usually related to the stitches.
Is the treatment expensive?
An accurate estimate of cost can be obtained from your dentist or dental specialist. This is often given in the form of a quotation. Most medical schemes look favourably upon implant treatment as they know it is predictably successful and permanent. Studies have shown that implants are cost effective when compared with alternative treatment plans.
The components chosen will depend on the type of treatment needed. In addition to component costs, there will be professional fees and there might be hospitalisation and medicine costs. In general, implants treatment is not much more expensive than the alternatives (bridges or new dentures at recurring shorter intervals). The big difference lies with long term success. Your implants can be with you for the rest of your life.
Should I wait until I'm older?
The youngest patients receiving implants are in their late teens, the oldest in their 90's. What often happens where there are missing teeth is that the jawbone begins to resorb. This is common with denture wearers, and the ridge which is important for holding the denture, gradually disappears, affecting the fit of the denture.
Dental implants restore normal loading of the bone thereby hinder this further loss of bone. The sooner you decide to have the implants placed, the less will be permanent loss of bone and the easier it is for the dentist to achieve a good result.