Dental implants have been widely used in modern dentistry in the last few decades to replace missing teeth. It involves the placement of a titanium fixture in the jaw bone, and a crown or a bridge on top to restore function to your smile. It is a procedure that can be done in the chair in the dental clinic, or if the patient prefers as an outpatient in a hospital setting.
People often query the need to replace a lost tooth, especially a back molar. What you may not be aware is that if a back tooth is not replaced, adjacent teeth can tilt over time, causing loss of bone and gum support. Furthermore, the tooth in the opposing jaw can ” supra-erupt”, that is it will ” grow out” of the jaw as it has effectively lost its partner. Often the long term consequence of not replacing a missing back tooth is the loss of more teeth, eventually causing the whole dentition and bite to collapse.
The first step is a careful assessment to see if you are a suitable candidate for this procedure. Our dentist will check your medical history, as there are several general conditions which may delay or impact on healing around a dental implant. Then your teeth, gums and bite will be examined, you would also be sent for a cone beam CT of the area. Only after this thorough investigation of your mouth, we will then proceed to the second step, that is the placement of the titanium implant in the jaw. The third step is the final restoration on top of the implant which restores it to function in your mouth. This may be a crown or a bridge.
Sometimes the initial examination will show that the patient in question is not an ideal candidate for the implant procedure. Our dentist would discuss with you other options available for the replacement of the missing tooth, such as a bridge. In some cases, a referral to a specialist may be necessary if the case is complicated, and may require surgery such as bone grafting.