Your Guide to Dental Implants in Canberra

Every single one of our teeth is extremely important. They influence our health, appearance and self-esteem. The teeth at the back of our mouths help us to chew, and support our muscles. The teeth at the front of our mouths help us to cut food and give us our all-important smiles. The result: damaged or missing teeth can have a significant effect on our image, oral health and overall wellbeing.

Unfortunately, even in spite of our best efforts to protect them, teeth can be damaged in many ways. Plaque can form on our teeth, create holes which lead to decay, and eventually destroy them. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, can cause gums to inflame and pull back. With gum disease, teeth loosen, and their roots can become exposed to bacteria. In addition, trauma to our gums and jaw bone can impact the roots of our teeth. Whatever the cause, damaged and missing teeth are a common problem.

Missing even a single tooth can have a huge impact on

</p><h3>Surrounding teeth</h3><p>

Surrounding teeth

a missing tooth removes support from our mouths. Adjacent teeth can begin to shift position and eventually collapse. Teeth on our opposing jaw are no longer stabilised.

</p><h3>Jawbone and gums</h3><p>

Jawbone and gums

our teeth form part of a functioning system. A missing tooth upsets the balance between our teeth, jaw and musculature. Our jawbones start to shrink and, in time, the gum tissue does the same.

</p><h3>Appearance</h3><p>

Appearance

a missing tooth can remove the support on the inside of our lips. This is augmented by our jawbones shrinking as a result of the lost tooth. Our faces can change dramatically, appearing older and more hollow.

If we don’t repair or replace damaged teeth, they can lead to serious consequences for our health and wellbeing. Even teeth that we can’t see at the back of our mouths can affect our appearance over time. The best, and only, solution is to repair or replace damaged or missing teeth as soon as possible.

Single-Tooth Replacement

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If you require a tooth replacement then there are several tooth replacement options. You should learn what your options are if you need to have a tooth removed. As all of the options are designed to replace the missing tooth for many years, it is vital to choose the best option for your long term needs.

Dental implants involve surgically placing a titanium implant into the jawbone. Once in place, the implant integrates with the jawbone and acts as a new root for the replacement tooth. An abutment, made of either titanium, gold or porcelain, is then attached to the implant with a screw. The abutment is the part that connects the implant to the crown and is shaped like a natural tooth that has been prepared for a crown. Finally, the crown is added, usually made of porcelain or metal alloy. The crown is screwed or cemented into place, leaving an extremely natural looking single tooth replacement.

Dental bridges aren’t directly placed into the gap like implants, instead they are held over the gap like a bridge. The bridge is supported by crowns that are placed on the supporting teeth, known as abutment teeth, at either side of the gap. The false tooth itself, known as a pontic, is made of gold, alloys or porcelain.

A removable partial denture, as the name suggests, is a less permanent solution. Normally, replacement teeth are fixed to a plastic base that is made to match the colour of the gums. There is also a clasp that attaches the dentures to the natural teeth. Partial dentures can easily be taken out of the mouth for cleaning and are not worn 24 hours a day.

What Are the Advantages of a Single-Tooth Implant over a Bridge?

Single-tooth implants and dental bridges are common treatments for a missing tooth. However, they come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Having a bridge requires the adjacent teeth to be reshaped to support the cemented bridge. Over time the cement can wash out, and bacteria can reach the teeth that anchor the bridge. When a bridge fails, one or both of the supporting teeth will likely fail, increasing the gap. A single-tooth implant offers many advantages over a bridge:

      • Looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth
      • Doesn’t sacrifice the health of neighbouring teeth
      • The jawbone is better preserved
      • More aesthetically pleasing
      • Easier to clean
      • Gums are protected
      • Long lasting

Single tooth replacement with dental implants can be used in people who are missing one or more teeth. Not only does a single tooth implant look like a natural tooth, but it acts like one too. The health of neighbouring teeth is preserved, and the health of the jawbone and gums is restored.

Full Teeth Replacement

When more than one tooth is missing or damaged, dental implants can still be used. With conventional dental implants, eight or more implants are needed to replace a full arch. While this is possible, with so many implants needed, implants have to be placed into areas of reduced bone density at the back of the mouth.

To strengthen the bone and make the implants work, bone grafting is often required. This involves a dental surgeon taking a section of bone from another area of your body and is then grafted onto the existing jawbone.

A full implant-supported bridge or implant-supported denture looks and functions like natural teeth and are designed to be long-lasting. They are also more comfortable and stable than conventional dentures.

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Therefore, they give you the capacity to maintain natural biting and chewing movements. The implant-supported bridge and implant-supported dentures also replace some of the roots of your teeth, which ensure your bone is preserved. Whereas with dentures, the bone that previously surrounded the tooth will eventually become loose, and can even change the shape of your face.

The Dental Implant Procedure

Before undergoing a dental implant procedure, it is necessary to undergo a thorough examination so that you understand the dental implant process. Dr. Mallik is our implant dentistry expert at Acacia dental. He ensures that every patient receives the best possible treatment for their individual needs. The preliminary radiographic examination enables a full review of your circumstances, oral health and concerns. We use a cone beam CT scan which allows Dr. Mallik to judge the bone height and density in the area that the implant is placed, and check if you’re suitable for the procedure. Once the review is complete, if you are suitable, a treatment plan is created. There are then three main steps to the dental implant procedure:

</p><h3>The implant is placed</h3><p>

The implant is placed

under local anaesthetic the titanium screw is placed into your jawbone. The implant remains below the surface, allowing it to bond together with your jawbone and create a strong anchor for the replacement tooth. It can take up to six months for the implant to fuse with the bone. It is possible to wear temporary dentures during this time, although it’s vital to eat a soft diet.

</p><h3>The abutment is added</h3><p>

The abutment is added

once the implant is firmly in place, it will be uncovered so an extension, known as an abutment, can be added. This is the cap upon which the replacement tooth will be placed. The gums need to heal for a few weeks after this procedure before treatment can be completed.

</p><h3>The crown is fixed</h3><p>

The crown is fixed

the final stage in the treatment involves attaching a crown to the abutment. Once the crown is in place the replacement tooth looks as good as new and feels and functions just like a natural tooth.

Types of Dental Implants

There are many factors to consider when deciding upon dental implants. Many patients are concerned about putting synthetic materials into their bodies and, as such, have questions about the makeup of implants. With regards to the materials used, there are two primary types of dental implants:

Titanium

the most common material, titanium is a type of metal which is known for its ability to fuse with the human bone. It has been used for many years and is strong and lightweight.

Zirconia

this metal-free crystal implant is usually a one-piece implant. While it hasn’t been used for a s long as titanium, it is still a viable option and is biocompatible.

As with any choice, there are pros and cons to the use of titanium and zirconia implants. Titanium has a long-standing proven success rate, whereas zirconia hasn’t been used for long enough for its long term effects to be known. Zirconia implants are one piece, which reduces the number of surgeries required for the implant. However, having two pieces, in the case of titanium, gives dentists a little more control over the implant placement process. Clearly, zirconia is the best answer for anyone with a metal allergy. The best way to decide upon the type of implant is to fully understand each patient’s concerns and goals.

As well as the type of implant material used, there are also options regarding the implant process itself. For patients who do not have sufficient bone height or density, zygomatic implants are a possibility. Zygomatic implants anchor to the cheekbone instead of the upper jaw. In cases of poor bone quality, zygomatic implants offer an alternative to bone grafting procedures. Bone grafting involves a much longer treatment time as well as other potential complications.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Implants

How Long Does a Dental Implant Procedure Take?

The time frame for carrying out a dental implant procedure varies on several factors. Using the traditional method of placing an implant, the shortest possible time is around five months. While the surgical procedure of placing the implant in the jawbone will take only around 30 minutes for a single tooth, it is the next stage that takes the time. It is vital to ensure that the implant has fused to the bone and created the strongest possible anchor for the abutment and crown. Also, in situations where bone grafting is required prior to placing an implant, the dental implant procedure can take longer. The process can take up to a year or more, to ensure the bone is of sufficient quality and that the implant will be long-lasting and effective.

Are Dental Implants Safe?

Dental implants are one of the safest types of dental surgery when performed by an experienced dentist. As a procedure that has been carried out for many years, there is an enormous amount of proof of the success of the treatment. However, while dental implants are incredibly safe, they still involve surgery, Any surgery poses some risks, and although they are rare and easily treated, it is always worth being aware of them:

  • Reaction to anaesthetic
  • Incorrect pain control during surgery
  • Bleeding during surgery
  • Infection at the implant site
  • Damage to teeth and blood vessels surrounding the implant
  • Nerve damage
  • Protrusion of the implant into a sinus cavity
  • Inability to correctly fuse with the jawbone

The majority of the risks associated with dental implants are relatively minor. In addition, the majority can be mitigated. Being treated by an experienced dentist is fundamental. A reputable dentist will thoroughly review your circumstances and put a personalised treatment plan together. As long as any additional risk factors are taken into account early on, there is minimal risk to the procedure.

Who are Dental Implants Suitable For?

Dental implants are suitable for the vast majority of adults with good general health. Younger patients are not suitable as the jaw needs to be fully developed. In the same vein, there must be enough bone in the jaw, if the procedure is to be successful. While lack of jawbone doesn’t necessarily mean dental implants aren’t suitable, it does make the process more complicated. To create a strong enough base for the implants, bone augmentation or bone grafting can be used.

There are certain conditions that increase the problems associated with the healing process for dental implants. Patients who drink or smoke heavily, increase the risk of implant failure. There are also certain medical conditions which create increased risk.

The best way to ascertain suitability for dental implants is to undergo a feasibility assessment at your initial consultation. Your medical history will be fully reviewed, and your mouth and remaining teeth thoroughly examined.

Smoking and Dental Implants

Smoking restricts the amount of blood flow to the tissues surrounding an implant, which increases the chances of implant failure. The implant needs oxygen and nourishment, which is compromised by smoking. In turn, the healing process takes longer. While the implant may be successful, there is also a risk of limited bone growth and insufficient integration with the jawbone.

Most dental professionals would advise patients to stop smoking to ensure the success of their dental implant. The ideal would be for you to quit permanently. However, the minimum is for smoking to be prohibited for at least a few weeks prior to the operation and a few months after. This is the best way to ensure a successful outcome.

Uncontrolled Diabetes and Dental Implants

As is the case with smokers, having uncontrolled diabetes increases the risk of implant failure. The reason for this is that the wound can take a long time to heal. A slow healing process increases the risk of infection. If an infection takes hold, then the risk of dental implant failure increases drastically along with associated complications.

However, those with controlled diabetes are at no more risk of complications than those without diabetes. It is uncontrolled diabetes that results in higher rates of infection and dental implant failure. To help resolve the situation, an experienced dentist will help create a plan to help you get your diabetes under control. Once diabetes is under control, and the risk of gum disease is minimised, there is no reason why you can’t have a successful dental implant.

Blood Pressure and Dental Implants

It is vital for a patient’s blood pressure to remain within a specific range to carry out a dental implant safely. Unfortunately, the anxiety related to a surgery along with the adrenalin in the anaesthetic can cause a patient’s blood pressure to rapidly rise. However, there are ways to mitigate the risks. With the help of your doctor, your medication can be adjusted to ensure your blood pressure stays within the necessary limits during the procedure. Alternatively, sleep dentistry can be used. Sleeping through surgery reduces surgery-related anxiety and the anaesthetic used isn’t adrenalin based. The best course of action is to discuss your blood pressure and medical history in detail with your dentist prior to any procedure.

Bone Grafts for Dental Implants

It is vital that the jawbone is strong enough to firmly hold an implant in place and support a replacement tooth. If the bone isn’t strong enough, there is a much higher chance that the implant surgery will fail. However, the lack of sufficient jawbone doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to have a dental implant. If you don’t have enough jaw bone, and it is thin or soft to hold an implant, a bone graft may be recommended.

In a bone graft procedure, a dental surgeon either takes a section of bone from another area of your body or uses a special grafted material. Bone is usually taken from behind the back teeth, the lower jaw or the chin. The bone is then grafted onto the existing jawbone. Once in place, the grafted bone will encourage the growth of strong new bone. The process can take several months, but once enough new bone has grown, the implant will have the stable base it requires.

Why Dental Implant Treatment Can Go Wrong?

Even though dental implants are a remarkably successful procedure, they do sometimes fail. The failure is, for the most part, due to the bone not healing properly and fusing with the implant. There can be many reasons for this, although they fall into three main categories:

  • General health – when patients have health problems, there is a higher chance of dental implant failure. This can be due to smoking, diabetes or inadequate oral hygiene.
  • Oral care – the implant site needs time to recover post-surgery. If you don’t look after yourself by eating a soft diet and practising good oral care, an implant can fail.
  • Experience of the dentist – the competence of the dentist is fundamental to ensure you receive a personalised treatment plan.

While there is always a chance that an implant might fail, there is plenty that can be done to reduce the likelihood. Going to an experienced dental professional who will take into account every aspect of the treatment is the best starting place. Next is to be a good patient, following the advice regarding health and ongoing care. In the majority of cases, dental implants will stand strong for many years to come.

Are Dental Implants Painful?

The dental implant procedure should not be at all painful. Your dentist will ensure that you receive the correct level of anaesthesia to not feel anything during the surgery. If you experience anxiety related to dental surgeries, your dentist should be able to help you with relaxation techniques.

After the procedure, it is likely that you will feel some pain. The numbness of the anaesthesia will wear off after a few hours, and the implant site may feel sore. The level of pain will depend on how involved the procedure was, but it should be treatable with over-the-counter pain relief. Over the next few days, swelling and bruising may cause some further discomfort. However, this is again easily treatable and should subside within a week.

How to Choose a Dental implant Dentist?

Choosing the right dental implant dentist is vital to ensure the treatment is as successful as possible. It can seem like quite a task as there are so many dentists offering dental implant treatment. However, there are a few things to look out for that will help you make the right choice. When choosing a dental implant dentist, there are three key areas to consider:

  1. Dentist training – being trained as a dentist alone,  isn’t enough to perform dental implants to a high standard. To perform dental implants, dentists need to take specific, extra-curriculum theoretical and practical courses in implant dentistry. This enables them to have the right knowledge and experience to deal with a wide variety of cases.
  2. Treatment planning – as part of their training, dentists will learn to carry out effective treatment planning. This is a vital step for dental implants. It ensures every factor is taken into account for each patient and that complications are minimised.
  3. Materials – it’s crucial that the materials used for dental implants are of a high standard and comply with safety and quality regulations. Using low-cost alternatives can lead to many complications.

Any reputable dentist will be only too happy to explain their credentials. By ensuring they have undertaken the necessary post-graduate courses, you can have confidence in their ability. Likewise, with the right training, they should be able to effectively carry out treatment planning. Your dentist should also be willing to explain the materials used for your implants and prove they adhere to the necessary regulations.

Dental Implant Cost

Dental implant cost can be difficult to define as there are so many variants. Obviously, the cost of a single tooth implant will be significantly less than a full arch or full set of false teeth. On top of this, there are variations due to your health, the experience of the dentist and the materials being used. The tooth implant cost for a  straightforward single dental implant in Canberra will be somewhere in the region of $5,500. However, a more complicated single dental implant, requiring a bone graft, can cost up to $10,000. 

Whatever type of dental implant is needed, it can be a substantial investment. However, ensuring you use an experienced dentist is a must. Having the right dentist will result in an in-depth treatment plan and the best quality materials being used.  Paying less for inferior treatment may well result in complications and more cost at a later date. With an experienced dentist, while the upfront cost may be higher, the long term cost over time will likely be a lot less.

Dental Implants Payment Plans and Finance Options

Fortunately, in spite of the substantial costs involved with dental implants, there are options to help manage the cost. Payment plans and finance options allow you to split the cost over time into manageable amounts. Most importantly, by considering finance options, you will be able to undergo dental implant treatment sooner. The sooner the implant is in place, the sooner you can realise the many benefits and your jawbone can start to rejuvenate.

At Acacia Dental, we use Humm, a buy now, pay later service. There is the option to choose the repayment time scale and amounts to ensure it’s manageable. The great thing is that, while you’ll pay fees based on the overall cost of your treatment, Humm charges no interest. As we work with them every day, we’ll be able to guide you through the application and give you all the advice you may need.

Accessing Your Superannuation

You can also consider using your superannuation to pay for a dental implant. You don’t need to be of retirement age to access your superannuation.

If your condition is relatively serious and causing you pain, you may be eligible to access the fund on compassionate grounds.

Missing and damaged teeth can create further problems if not treated, so it’s worth considering preparing an application if you might be eligible.

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Ready For A Free Dental Implant Consultation?

If you have one or more damaged or lost teeth, it is best to seek advice from an experienced dentist as soon as possible. If you would like to take the next step, why not call us and book a free dental implant consultation.

At Acacia Dental, Dr. Malik is our dental implant expert who will take a closer look at your mouth and explain your treatment options. He’ll carry out a detailed examination, review your medical history and plan the best treatment for you. You can ask questions about the procedure and confirm the cost.

If having a dental implant is the answer, it will restore your teeth, your smile and your confidence in no time. If this sounds good to you, call us on (02) 6281 2222. Our practice is based in Woden, Canberra.

Book a FREE Implant Assessment

We will examine your mouth, eliminate all risk factors and assess the correct course of treatment.