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Archive for September, 2011

Once the reserve of the mega rich, dental implants are now not only common place as teeth replacements but thanks to the advent of short haul dental tourism, dental implants are now affordable to more people than ever.

There is simply no replacing the knowledge and experience of a surgeon when it comes to dental implant placing. A surgeon can often work faster, with more precision and the results are proven on average to last longer and throw up fewer complications.

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f you don’t know your implants from your inlays or your healing time from your waiting time then we’ve put together a short guide on today’s dental implant technology that will hopefully guide you in the right direction and perhaps allay any fears you may have.

What are dental implants?

Developed in Sweden by Dr Branemark his discovery that titanium is not rejected by the body but is instead treated just as normal bone put paid to centuries of endeavour of finding a way to replace missing teeth from the root up. And so the most famous of dental implant brands was born which still to this day bears his name.

More than 50 years on, the modern dental implant is a far cry from its first incarnations. Refinement after refinement has produced dental implants which integrate faster, last longer and can be used in situations previously thought impossible. There are currently over 300 different brands of implants available on the market, some better than others, some more versatile, but all exploit the same miracle properties as the original Branemark invention.

Am I suitable for dental implants?

The bottom line is that not everyone is suitable for dental implants. Out of all the thousands of people we see each year a small percentage are not suitable. As the main strength of dental implants is the ability of the titanium to bond completely with bone as if the titanium were the host tissue itself, the main factor to consider here is the quality or health of the bone itself. I’ve often heard it said that mother’s loose a tooth for every child and so unsurprisingly mother’s with several children often suffer from bone loss brought on by their pregnancies.
However, just because your bone quality may be low doesn’t mean that you will be turned away regardless. Often there are treatments such as bone augmentation and bone replacement therapies that can bring the situation back from the brink to make dental implantation feasible.
Smoking, diabetes and other conditions can also adversely affect the successful integration of dental implants and your dentist can advise you fully on your options at a consultation.

Why not just stick with dentures?

The traditional replacement for missing teeth, the denture, dates back to something like 700BC and since then technology has moved on a bit with restorations being made of porcelain instead of animal teeth. But still the main reasons people are put off this solution include the beaker of teeth resting by the bed at night – not a good look if like so many people you are still relatively young. The pink plate that is used to keep the dentures in place can be uncomfortable to wear, collects food and then there is always the chance of the whole thing popping out at the most inopportune moment as so many You Tube videos are testament to.
For these reasons and more, people are now able to choose a dental implant solution that is comfortable, have the look and feel of normal teeth, are hygienic and guaranteed not to make a run for it at social functions. Plus they can last a lifetime if looked after well.

How long does the process take?

For some, those with excellent bone and no complicating factors, the whole dental implantation process including fitting of a temporary crown can be completed in just one sitting. This, however, is very rare. Often there is more to be considered. Any sign of infection must be treated and allowed to heal properly so that the infection has no chance of affecting the dental implant. Sometimes due to bone loss or poor bone quality the implantation site must be prepared. For this sometimes simple bone augmentation is required but in more extreme cases a bone transplant either from the chin or from the hip may be required. All these processes need time to take effect, for the bone to be properly strengthened, adding anywhere from 3 months to 6 months.
Then the actual dental implant can be placed and the healing time for this can take from between 3 and 4 months to successfully integrate.
Finally the crowns can be fitted and this really only depends on the speed that the dental technicians can make the crowns. For our clinics, we have on-site technicians who are at hand to perfectly match colour and shape of our clients existing teeth meaning a turn around of just 1 week is required.

Is a Surgeon Required?

Recently a big push has been made by the implant manufacturers to try to enable your basic dentist with standard dentist qualifications to place implants in ever more tricky situations. Products such as the Nobel Guide which use CT scans and special computer programs to calculate the exact position and angle of dental implants can now be used to help guide a dentist’s drill on the right course. Whilst this may be good for the dentist, to the patient this can lead to lengthier appointments, more time in the chair plus unnecessary CT Scans.
For these reasons we always recommend that for all but the simplest case a specialist maxillo-facial surgeon should be employed. There is simply no replacing the knowledge and experience of one of these surgeons when it comes to dental implant placing. A surgeon can often work faster, with more precision and the results are proven on average to last longer and throw up fewer complications.
And of course where there is bone augmentation or grafting to be done there is no option but to use a surgeon, general dentists simply are not allowed to carry out such procedures.