|Implants will replace any lost tooth/teeth
Well almost, in some instances the bone underlying that is needed to support the implant is of a poor (or non-existent) quality and in these cases implants may not be placed or can only be placed with additional bone grafting procedures! Areas of the mouth that often pose issues with implants are the back portion of the lower and upper jaws – in the case of the upper jaw the air sinus can complicate matters and the lower jaw the inferior dental nerve!
Implants will look as natural as my own teeth
Yes, in most cases, they will. Look at the case that I completed on the right column, the implant placement and aesthetic components were carried out by myself.
Implants will “feel” natural
They should also feel 99% similar to having your own teeth, but sometimes the implant supported crown may have a different “feel” due to the materials used and the shape needed to fit properly into the implant. It’s funny to talk about feel when talking about teeth but the truth is that all your teeth are attached to your jaw bones by a specialized ligament called the periodontal ligament and within this ligament sits a whole range of nerve fibre endings.
These fibres transmit information about the pressure the tooth is under and the forces acting upon it. Don’t believe me? Ever inadvertently bite on a hard piece of stone whilst chewing a sandwich, you’ll soon understand how sensitive these nerves are!
The nerve endings also act as a safeguard so that you don’t end up putting too much pressure your teeth. Implants DO NOT feel the same – some patients say that a single implant can sometimes feel “empty” almost like it’s not there!
The implant will be placed and my tooth with be replaced in one surgical appointment
Well, no. Immediate loaded implants can work but only if there is enough bone in the area to adequately support and load the implant.
If not, then a two stage procedure will have to be carried out, where the implants are placed first and then a 3-4 month healing phase is allowed to occur before the placing of the crown atop the implant.
During this phase you can opt for NO temporary (rare this), a temporary denture, or a temporary resin bridge.
So what ARE the steps?
If a tooth has be extracted, then the tooth is normally extracted and if the site is suitable for immediate placement of an implant, the implant is then placed as soon as the tooth is taken out.
However, if the site is not suitable, a bone graft may have to be placed, and the implant placed 3 months later.
Once the implant is placed, a further 3-4 months is allowed to go by to allow the implant to integrate or “take”. The implant’s stability is then checked and then the construction of the crown is carried out. This normally takes 1-2 weeks.
My dentist says I need soft/hard tissue “augmentation” or “plastic surgery” together with my implant.
This is sometimes needed, the soft tissue procedure is known as a gingivo-plasty or if more extensive a mucoso-plasty or vestibulo-plasty; the hard tissue procedure is known as a bone graft.
Sometimes, depending on the length of time the missing tooth to be replaced has been gone, the soft tissues in the area would have shrunk and deformed during healing leaving little, if any, bone for the implant.
What sort of implants do YOU use?
Here at Dental Associates we use NobelBiocare implants.
What do implants cost?
This varies depending on the type of implant used and the amount of site preparation needed.
Costs can range from as little as NZD$4500 for the complete procedure to replace a single tooth to as much as NZD$8,000 for a difficult case.
You should discuss this with your dentist before undertaking treatment. Choices such as a full ceramic crown and full ceramic foundation, can also add to your cost.
Work on this page carried out by Dr Adrian Tan, who practices on Auckland’s beautiful Viaduct Harbour. Adrian is a graduate of Otago University’s Faculty of Dentistry and currently works to support his two fussy dogs.