WHAT IS A DENTAL IMPLANT?
An implant is a threaded screw made of Titanium which is placed in the jaw to replace a tooth. It can be used to support a crown, a bridge or to stabilise a denture.
HOW IS IT DONE?
The procedure is done in two stages:
- Stage 1 involves placement of the implant in the jaw. Then there is a waiting period while the implant fuses with the jawbone. This is called osseointegretion. This process takes on average 4 – 6 months. When integration is complete, the implant is ready to be used.
- In stage 2 an impression is taken of the implant head and the laboratory uses this to make the crown, bridge or denture which will be retained or stabilised by the implant.
IS IT A BIG DEAL?
Placing an implant is similar to having a tooth extracted. A single implant can be done under local anaesthetic. Multiple placements can be done using sedation, however many patients prefer just to have local anaesthetic.
HOW LONG DO THEY LAST?
Implants placed under ideal conditions and that are properly restored have a 95% chance of surviving in the mouth over a period of 20 years.
ARE IMPLANTS SUITABLE FOR EVERYONE?
There are some people who are not suitable – heavy smokers, poorly controlled diabetics, patients on some medications for osteoporosis or those with a long term major illness.
Barring these, if you are fit and well and have sufficient jawbone, you are suitable for implants.
Age alone is not a contra – indication for implants.