dental implants, gengivitis, dr andre van zyl, gum disease, gum treatments, implant, periodontist, dental specialist, oral cosmetic surgery, dental surgery

Figure 1: Dental Implant

Dental Implants Hermanus

A dental implant (Figure1) is a metal screw which is designed to replace the root of a tooth. The dental implant is placed inside the jawbone to support a single tooth (Figures 2a, 2b, 2c), multiple teeth (Figure 3a, 3b), a bridge or a denture. Dental implants are meant to be used when a tooth or teeth have been lost. It should never be used to replace teeth that can still be treated with conventional dental methods.

  • Teeth are normally lost due to injury, periodontal/gum disease, abscesses and advanced decay

Almost all implants are made of Titanium and although there are so called tooth coloured “metal free” Zirconia implants, they are also produced from what is called a transitional metal (Zirconium).

Are Dental Implants for you?

If you have lost a tooth or teeth, or if you never developed certain teeth and in good general and oral health, then you are a candidate for dental implant treatment. You will need sufficient jaw bone for the placement of the dental implant, and preferably adequate healthy gum tissue. Periodontists are specialists in bone and gums around natural teeth and are therefore ideally trained to assess you for dental implant treatment. If you have lost teeth due to periodontal/gum disease, then the periodontist will not only perform implant treatment, but also look after the health of your remaining teeth to prevent further tooth loss.

What does Dental Implant treatment involve?

The procedure involves team work between you, your dentist or prosthodontist and your periodontist. Depending on your specific needs, your periodontist will create a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs in collaboration with your dentist/prosthodontist. Dental implant placement may be a simple procedure or it may be a complex surgical treatment- this depends on many different factors that your periodontist will assess and explain to you in detail. No two single patients are alike. Every patient will receive an assessment and report on their unique requirements and the treatment will be tailored according to those needs. The different scenarios for replacing lost teeth with dental implants may involve one or more of the following scenarios:

  • Replacement of a single tooth:   This may involve a single surgical visit to replace a pre-molar or molar or it may involve two surgical procedures if the missing tooth is in your smile and in need of bone and/or gum augmentation to restore the smile.
  • Replacement of multiple teeth:   In the case of multiple missing teeth, you may need 2 or more implants to support a porcelain bridge. The number of implants will vary according to how many teeth you have lost and what the nature of your bite forces are.
  • Replacement of all your teeth:   If you have lost all your teeth in one or both jaws, then you will need up to 8 implants per jaw to replace your teeth with a bridge or as few as 2 implants to stabilize a denture. Your needs will be assessed and you will receive all the relevant information to help in the decision making process.
  • Maxillary Sinus Augmentation:   The upper jaw often has inadequate bone volume for dental implants in the back. In such cases an operation may be performed to increase the bone volume by entering the maxillary sinus and by raising the sinus floor to increase the bone. Sometimes the dental implants can be placed simultaneously with the sinus floor elevation and in certain cases only after a healing period of 6-9 months.
  • Jaw Augmentation:   Bone deficiencies due to tooth loss may leave you with inadequate bone in which to place dental implants. This can be rectified in most cases by building up the bone using your own bone with or without synthetic bone. You will be informed in detail should this be necessary.
  • CT Scanning:  In order to do an exact assessment of the available bone for dental implant treatment and to prevent damage to vital nerves and arteries, we may have to utilize a Cone-beam CT scan. This is available in our practice and is used in most cases to ensure you are not exposed to unnecessary risks during the implant surgery.

Once we have done all the necessary assessments, you will receive a detailed cost estimate for your specific treatment.

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