Dental Implants

The Smile Company is one of a few highly qualified practices in New Zealand where dental implants can be provided comprehensively from fixture placement to the final restoration, seamlessly and in our rooms.

We choose to use the tried and tested and highly successful Nobel Biocare System.

Through careful evaluation and assessment of different variables, such as the quality and quantity of bone, we can be confident in our decision to provide you with dental implants, and make it a successful replacement for the natural tooth or teeth. We follow very strict surgical and restorative guidelines to ensure that the implants will be successful.

If missing teeth are somehow changing your way of life, you may be a candidate for dental implants. Missing teeth can hinder speech, chewing and certainly over time limit your smile and cause your face to collapse.

A dental implant or a group of implants can provide support to replace a tooth or groups of teeth.

Dental implants are considered the most predictably successful and satisfactory method of tooth replacement in modern dentistry.

Please visit Nobel Biocare for more information.

Implant Procedure

Step one: Implant placement

The first step involves the surgical placement of small screw-like fixtures or implants, which can be considered your new dental roots. The gum tissue is replaced over the implant after it has been positioned precisely into the bone. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia and is generally not painful. When the anaesthesia wears off about three or four hours later, you might experience some slight swelling and discomfort.

The implant is then left to integrate or naturally bond to the bone for a period of three to six months.

Step two: Attachment of the abutment

Once osseointegration (bone bonding) is complete and the join between dental implants and bone is strong enough to support the new prosthesis, (3-6 months) the implant is uncovered in a second surgical procedure.

Now the abutment is attached to the implant.

The abutment passes through the soft tissue of the gum and acts as an extension to which the finished tooth or group of teeth can be attached.

Sometimes this step is avoided by placing the healing abutment on the fixture at the time of fixture placement.

Step three: The prosthetic work

This phase generally involves several visits to the dentist’s office. During these visits, you will be able to discuss with the dentist the look and feel you would like for your new tooth or group of teeth.

Impressions will be taken of your abutments, and remaining teeth. This allows the dentist to effectively determine the exact positioning for the tooth or teeth, that will not only be aesthetically pleasing, but feel just like your own natural teeth.

In 2-3 weeks you should have a new tooth or group of teeth and a wonderfully natural new smile to be proud of!

Step four: Maintenance

Just as your natural teeth need regular reviews and maintenance, you must care for your new dental implants with appropriate home care together with regular visits to the dentist and your hygienist.

Pros and Cons

Versatility

Implants can replace single or multiple missing teeth with crowns and bridges that will not be subject to decay. Dental implants can be used for virtually any dental situation, from single missing tooth replacement to full upper and lower teeth replacement.

Confidence and comfort

Implants can support your existing full or partial denture, eliminating the need for denture adhesives and the embarrassment and discomfort of loose dentures. Implants can solve those impossible denture related problems when due to age the denture bearing ridges have reduced so much that dentures simply cannot fit or function.

Many instances like this have been improved with the provision of just two implants for one denture.

Reliability

You can depend on a lifetime of healthy function with the same care and maintenance as natural teeth.

Protecting quality tooth structure

With the dental implant process you do not destroy the enamel of adjacent teeth. Removable partial dentures can be very damaging to remaining teeth by providing areas where plaque traps easily and decay sets in.

An implant can avoid the grinding down of a good tooth to make a bridge.

Improved appearance

The loss of a tooth or teeth causes ongoing shrinkage of your jawbones. The hollow appearance of your cheeks will make your face look older. Dental implants allow us to add form back to your face by replacing the missing teeth.

Surgical work

Sometimes two visits to the dentist for surgical work are required. Though not painful procedures, they can sometimes be followed by minor gum swelling and bruising for several days.
It is usually not any worse than a dental extraction.

Time

Apart from treatment visits, several consultations may be needed before and during the process.

While removable partial dentures and bridges can be designed more quickly and with less cost than implant restorations, they are not as reliable or as predictably successful.

Cost

Implants are more costly than other treatments, but the result is the most predictably successful treatment in modern dentistry. Implant treatments are a good investment for a happy lifestyle.

Implant Glossary

Abutment

The connection that allows the replacement tooth to be connected to an implant fixture.

Crown

Sometimes called a cap. It is used to replace a single tooth. A series of crowns can be used to replace several teeth. They can be made to fit over an existing tooth or attached to dental implants.

Fixture

Another term for dental implants. The titanium bolt or screw that is placed in the bone to eventually support a tooth or crown.

Osseointegration

The process by which bone bonds around and accepts the fixture or titanium implant.

Prosthesis

The dental restoration made by your dentist to replace the missing tooth or teeth. It may be attached to the dental implants usually by an abutment or it may be supported by natural tooth structure when implants are not used.

The prosthesis may be removable or fixed. (You cannot remove the prosthesis yourself.)

Stent

Used to determine the best position for the placement of dental implants.

Traditionally, the dentist who is making the “teeth” makes the stent for the specialist or oral surgeon who is placing the implant.

What can go wrong

Infections

Though infections do occur, they are rare with the dental implant procedure. In most situations, they are controlled with particular surgical attention and antibiotics. Always consult the dentist if your recovery does not follow the course discussed during consultations.

Failed implant

Implants do fail occasionally. In most situations a second implant can be placed in the same place and the success rate is high in these cases.

Damaged nerve

Nerve damage is possible when working in the back portion of the lower jaw.
The damage might result in a constant numb feeling in the lower jaw.
Fortunately, nerve damage is rare and can be prevented by careful techniques.

FAQs

Are dental implants a permanent solution?

Yes, dental implants are considered to be a permanent solution.

The implant fixture is considered to be the most predictably reliable solution for tooth replacement as long as it placed in the correct position.

Sometimes, during a regular review you may find that extra work or maintenance needs to be done to the implant superstructure. Most restorations will require some degree of maintenance and sometimes replacement over a period of time.

Who can have dental implants?

Anyone over 20 years of age in reasonable health who wants to replace missing teeth. You need a certain amount of bone and of bone quality in the area of the missing teeth to provide for the osseointegration of the implants. Sometimes added bone is necessary.

Schedule a consultation with your dentist to see if you fulfil the general requirements and how this treatment may be made possible for you.

How successful will the implant procedure be?

Research over the last 35 years has shown a 98 percent success rate for bridge work performed on the lower jaw and 95 percent success in the upper jaw. In recent years performing single tooth replacements has become very popular and useful.

Studies are becoming available which indicate this treatment will have a similar success rate.

Is this a painful surgical procedure?

No. The procedure can be carried out under intravenous or oral sedation, or local anaesthesia. Your dentist will help you decide. There may be minor discomfort for a few days after the operation. It is not unlike a dental extraction.

How real will my new tooth look?

In general, expect excellent aesthetically pleasing results.
Your implant restoration will blend to the size, shape and colour of your natural teeth.
They will also be very comfortable, and allow a normal range of function.
You will be able to smile naturally and with confidence!

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