The modern dental implant is actually older than most people think. A Swedish surgeon called Per-Ingvar Branemark was the first to place the modern form of dental implant over 40 years ago. The basic design has changed only a little but dental implants are now used to replace from one to all missing teeth in people’s mouths.
Teeth can be lost through trauma and in New Zealand the treatment costs are often partly funded by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). This does need to be confirmed before treatment with ACC. Many teeth are also lost through tooth decay or fracture and in this situation a dental implant is often the best tooth replacement option. Other options should also be discussed and for some people a bridge or denture (false tooth / teeth) is a more suitable alternative. Dental implant treatment is often easier than most people think too. The main advantage over the other methods of tooth replacement is that dental implants don’t rely on the other teeth for support and they feel like a normal tooth in your mouth. There are sometimes extra treatments that can be required before a dental implant can be placed. If there is insufficient bone a small amount of bone will sometimes be borrowed from another part of the jaws to allow for implant placement. To most patients this sounds awful but it is a bit like having a tooth out. Some swelling for a few days and a few days on minor pain killers like paracetamol.
At Westlake Dental Specialists we use state of the art technology to help plan implant care. Our 2D and 3D x-rays help assess the available bone for implant placement. Where possible we try and place an implant at the time of tooth extraction (immediate placement). This reduces both treatment time and cost. In some cases front teeth can also have immediate temporary crowns placed by your dentist on the day of surgery. This means that there is no need for a partial denture.
When the implant is ready for a final crown, usually about 3 months after placement your dentist may recommend that you have an intra-oral scan at Westlake Dental Specialists. Here the latest in digital impression technology using our iTero scanner will allow us to take a picture of your implant to be sent to the dental for abutment and crown construction. This can help avoid dental impressions although sometimes these need to be taken instead.
Whilst dental implants are expensive we believe we strive to keep our implant costs down to make it a realistic alternative in the case of tooth loss. Your dentist or a Specialist Prosthodontist will need to be involved in the crown stage of the implant so you will need to ask your dentist if an implant is right for you.