What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are replacements of your teeth that might have accidentally been knocked out or need to be reduced due to cavities. Dental implants are replacements for such damaged teeth that look and feel like your natural teeth. Computer-aided implant surgery is the result of advances in digital technology that allows for you to experience a more pleasant experience in the dentist chair due to a shorter procedure, less pain experienced due to small surgical incisions made, and less downtime in recovery from the invasive implant process.

Implant dentistry is about a mixture of careful planning, knowledge, accuracy, precision and sound clinical judgment, as well as surgical and restorative skills.  The traditional implant method relies on the dentist to place the implant. This may result in implant malpositioning, which is when the implant is improperly placed, due to factors such as hand stability. There are also surgical guides using diagnostic wax-up models which are prone to errors due to the variability in the quality of the plaster model, and also because it is based on the gum even though implants are placed within the bone. With a fully digital guided dental implant technique, this risk is able to be eliminated

What’s the Difference Between Traditional Implants and Guided Dental Implants?

Traditional implants are usually more painful than computer guided dental implants because it involves an incision of the gum to allow access to the jawbone and which will require stitches to close up.

This process of placing an implant relies on the dentist’s vision or feel, whoever places it is going to make an incision on gum and reflect the tissue back to the bone. On the other hand, computer-guided implant surgery due to the keyhole incision made is much less painful and requires less time. As the area is small, most of the time we do not need any stitches. Many patients tell us that they experience little to no pain during and even after the process of placing the implant, as we use a local anaesthetic to gently numb the gums and teeth around the implant. This process also takes less time than the traditional method of implants, resulting in a more pleasant session at the dentist’s chair for you.

What Do You Need to Know Before Your Dental Implant?

Dental Implant illustration

Making the decision to have a dental implant placed in your mouth is not an easy one. What are the factors and considerations before you opt for implant surgery? We provide the top ten things you need to know before your dental implant surgery.

  1. A dental implant looks and almost feels like having your own tooth back.
    The dental implant-borne restoration looks like your natural tooth as it fuses to your jawbone and becomes part of you.  Dental implants are also preferable to dentures as there is better chewing sensation, better biting strength, and no change in taste or sense of smell.
  2. Freedom and confidence to talk, dine, and laugh.
    Having a restoration done to your tooth means that you now can be able to bite into fruit or swim with confidence without worrying about the dentures coming off, or compared to dentures which may fall out. Having a fixed implant means that you can enjoy the confidence of smiling and laughing with your friends and family without feeling self-conscious about your teeth, as your implant will look similar to your natural teeth.
  3. Preserves your facial structure.
    With dentures, the bone loss in the jaw will result after prolonged use of dentures, causing the jaw bone to recede and eventually collapse.  With implants, the bone integrity is maintained due to the bite forces transmitted to the jaw. This sustains the bone structure and maintains the shape and look of your face structure, lips and cheeks.
  4. Having a gap in your teeth causes an imbalance of teeth.
    Without an implant treatment, your teeth will not be well balanced, and this gap in the teeth will cause the teeth to shift and move in an attempt to fill the gap. In the long run, this movement will damage the balance and health of existing teeth as the the shift might cause food to be stuck in the gaps. Furthermore, the opposing tooth might grow or super-erupt toward the gap, causing problems with loosening or biting on the gum, which might lead to this tooth needs to be extracted.
  5. Guided implants are usually less painful and faster healing than traditional implants.
    Most patients fear implants because they expect it to be a painful process. Computer-guided dental implants can help patients avoid most of the pain associated with the implant, as it allows the dentist to place the implant using a keyhole surgery technique that avoids needing a large incision and stitches. Healing is much better as the surgery site is smaller compared to traditional implant surgery which often results in a large wound.
  6. Minimally removes your existing teeth structure.
    Doing an implant means that you will be saving the teeth that might have been reduced if you have pursued other treatment options. If you are doing a fixed bridge restoration, the teeth adjacent to the implant to the left and the right would need to be reduced down in order to fit the fixed bridge restoration which is fitted over the gap. Doing an implant preserves the existing tooth structure as much as possible and this is the preferred option at our clinic as we are committed to saving your tooth structure as much as possible.
  7. Having an implant early helps reduce problems down the road.
    The analogy is similar to an 18 wheeler truck going down the highway. There will not be any noticeable problems if a couple of wheels are taken away in the short term. Fast forward to a year and there will be abnormal wear and damage to the structure of the teeth that have moved either forward or sideways. After a time, the real issues in balance and bite dynamics would surface in your mouth.
  8. A guided implant has a higher success rate than a regular dental implant.
    Traditionally, a dentist or periodontist typically places an implant with a free hand, according to their visualisation and by making an incision in the gum tissue to reveal the bone underneath. They do this in order to be able to see what and where they are screwing the implant into. This incision made using traditional implant methods is larger than the keyhole guided implant surgery, making recovery time longer.
  9. Implant guide is making sure that the tooth is exactly where the dentist wants to go.
    The implant plan is exported to a computer to create the placement for your implant so that the implant goes exactly where the dentist places it. The dentist mills the placement guide using CADCAM technology. This keyhole guided surgery entails a 3d visualisation of the implant site. First, the dentist takes a digital scan of your jaw using a 3D CEREC scanner and 3D CBCT X-rays. This digital scan is used to produce a customised 3D CADCAM guide which allows us to visualise the bone and eliminates the need to make a large incision on the gum. A small keyhole is made instead, which is comparatively quick and painless compared to the traditional method. This means less recovery time as it is the minimally invasive option. With keyhole guided implant surgery, almost all patients will experience next to no discomfort and post-operation pain due to the visualisation of the process of guided implant placement.
  10. Inform your dentist if you have pre-existing medical conditions.
    It is important to tell your dentist if you have conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis as these will affect the success rate of dental implant surgery. Any allergies, medications, including traditional Chinese medicine, or medical conditions must be raised to the dentist before treatment commences. The gums and teeth will also need to be healthy and having regular scaling and polishing done to maintain their healthy condition.
  11. Find out what brand your dental implant is.
    There are hundreds of different dental implant brands on the market, and most patients do not even know what kind of implant they are choosing to put into their body. The brand is important to ensure that its a good quality implant.  Dental implants are meant to last you for many years, and they will require maintenance over the years as the crown or implant parts wear out. If your implant is of an unknown brand or if it does not have parts to allow repair, the whole implant may need to be removed and replaced with a new implant. The top brands for dental implants are Astra, Straumman, Nobel Biocare and Biomet 3i. Our clinic uses Astra brand implants which are from Sweden and widely used all over the world.

Why do some implants fall out very quickly, and some implants last a long time?

A dental implant is an artificial prosthesis to replace a missing part of your body, your tooth. Being in the mouth, it is put under a lot of chewing forces every day. Therefore, we want it to last you as long as possible. If the implant is placed in the wrong position, it may not be able to withstand the pressure long term and will fail.

At Dental Designs Clinic, we are able to provide dental implants that are fully computer-guided implants. Planning of the implant is done virtually, and the virtual placement is done on the 3D visualisation. The dentist plans this implant fully on the computer so that it is accurately placed and safely planned. The future implant is done in the implant placement in the software which gives dentists total control of the implant positioning which is so important for the long-term success.

The fully guided implant placement process begins with a digital scan of your jaw using the latest in digital dentistry. Using a state of the art 3D CEREC scanner and 3D CBCT X-rays, our experienced dental team takes a 3D impression of your jaw and designs the placement of the titanium implant. At our clinic, we use Astra implants which have decades of proven reliability, successful implants and longevity.

This follows with milling an 3D impression of your jaw and making a guide exactly according to where the dentist has designed your implant to be placed. The dental implant is placed after extraction of or at the site of the missing tooth. A bone graft may be done during this stage if bone material at the jaw is lacking to support the implant. After the surgery is done, a typical healing period of 3 to 6 months is allowed for the bone to heal and for the implant to stabilise. After this healing period, the crown is placed and the tooth will look as similar to your original teeth.

cerec

Using our 3D CBCT X rays, we can determine that the exact placement has been implanted into your mouth. The actual result of the computer-guided implant is able to be reflected after the implant has been placed in the patient’s mouth. This provides you much peace of mind that your implant has been accurately restored and put in place by our friendly dentists.

We also provide for same day emergency procedures. If you had an accident resulting in a broken tooth, or if your tooth is fractured and needs to be extracted,  our same day computer guided implants can be done in one visit on the same day.

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