A dental implant is a titanium fixture that is placed into the jawbone to support an artificial crown. The periodontist may suggest placing a bone graft or soft tissue graft around the implant to fabricate a natural looking smile.
Who Needs Dental Implants?
If you have missing teeth and are embarrassed by the need to wear a removable denture, then a dental implant is for you. Dental implants are a great replacement option for missing teeth. Dental implants can be placed in a way that it appears very natural and harmonious with the adjacent teeth.
Dental implants are an excellent alternative for people who:
- Do not want to wear removable dentures like their parents did
- Want something that feels natural. A dental implant recreates the shape and contour of a natural tooth. There is also no need to remove the implant at night to clean. You will be able to clean it like your own teeth. It also has the strength to withstand normal biting forces and is not as weak as a plastic removable denture.
- Want something that looks natural. If done correctly with a good surgical technique and with a good implant system, the anterior implant should look like a natural tooth and emerge from the gums like a natural tooth. It should look virtually indistinguishable from the other teeth.
- Do not want to sacrifice tooth structure on the teeth adjacent to the gap. The other fixed replacement option for missing teeth is a fixed bridge. But this requires that the adjacent teeth be ground down to hold the missing tooth/teeth. In comparison, dental implants exists as a unit on its own.
Is the dental implant procedure painful?
Many patients have dental phobias, a leftover scar from mismanagement during childhood. Dental implants are also given a bad reputation when their friends scare them with tales of a bad dental implant experience. However, there are many ways of reducing a patient’s fear of the dentist. Many times, they may need to visit the dentist for a pre-implant consult to discuss their worries and fears. Patients who are very fearful may also opt for dental implants to be placed under general anesthesia or light sedation.
After local anaesthesia is given, the procedure is painless or almost pain-free. This applies both during the procedure and post-procedure. Most patients only complain of discomfort for the first 24 hours. You will also be given painkillers to keep you comfortable at night.
Can everyone have dental implants?
No, not everyone is a good candidate. Dental implants should be placed in healthy individuals with no gum disease and a minimum standard of oral hygiene. Implants placed in a person with poor immunity and poor dental health will fail in the long run.
Although implants cannot decay, bacteria from adjacent unhealthy teeth can still contaminate implants and cause it to become infected causing the implant can loosen and fall out. So it is really important to get your overall health and mouth back to a healthy state before dental implants become a treatment option.
If you have no teeth and wear dentures, you can still do implants if you have enough bone in the jaws. A fixed implant bridge supported by multiple implants can be used to replace all the missing teeth. If there is inadequate jaw bone though, we can still use implants to retain loose dentures, especially for elderly patients. Sometimes one or two implants are placed just to improve retention and stability of the denture.
I’m a smoker, can I still have dental implants?
Yes, you still can have dental implants, but the success rates for dental implants drop substantially for smokers.
Smokers in general have poor immunity, so they do not heal well after dental implant surgery. They also have a higher incidence of bone loss around their teeth and implants due to the toxins in cigarette smoke. In general, smoking is really bad for your gum health.
The good news is, studies show that once you stop smoking, your body can clear the toxins and your immunity can go back to its normal homoeostatic state. Dental implants become a successful long term treatment option again!
What kind of dental implant is best for me?
This should be discussed with your dental provider as there are so many different brands on the market. It’s like choosing a car. Personally, I strongly feel that the dental implant system chosen needs to be rigorously tested both in the lab and clinically. It also needs to have a very good reputation and safety record.
The system chosen should also continue to innovate and upgrade and not be complacent that they are the best. An implant system that has not been tested rigorously and scientifically may fail or give you problems in the long run.
Dr Teo’s consultation hours:
Monday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Wednesday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday: 9:00am – 12:00pm
Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
TP Dental Surgeons Pte Ltd
391B Orchard Road
#26-01 Ngee Ann City Tower B
Tel: +65 6737-9011