Dental implants can provide you with a truly functional and aesthetic alternative to missing or irreparably damaged teeth. In years gone by, patients with many missing teeth have had no option but to wear dentures, but thankfully dental implants have saved us from that.
Dr Rory Nolan sheds some light on this procedure.
What should people consider when they’re going to get one or more teeth replaced with dental implants?
First of all we need to assess their suitability to have the procedure done. We would look at their medical history and the state of their general dental health to begin with, after which more specifically we’d look at the bone quality and volume at the site of the dental implant placement.
There are many options when it comes to dental implants. We can use one implant to replace one single missing tooth, or we can use multiple implants to replace a whole missing arch of teeth. In instances where we find the bone volume or quality to be inadequate we carry out what is a routine procedure these days called bone grafting.
And what is bone grafting?
For the most part it’s quite a straightforward procedure where you place some bone filler around the implant which allows and encourages your own bone to grow into that area. Bone augmentation is a highly specialised field requiring the clinician to have advanced levels of formal training and clinical experience.
Does every patient require bone grafting?
The short answer is no. But in determining that fact, many patients will require a 3D CT Scan to ascertain their bone levels and bone volume. The CT scan is done in our rooms using the latest in computer 3D imaging technology.
The scan is viewed on our digital screens and helps with the planning of precise implant placement. This technology allows us to place implants in a much safer and more predictable manner, and ultimately what that will mean for the patients is that they will have a more aesthetic and functional restoration placed.
Can you explain what a sinus lift is all about?
A sinus graft, or sinus lift, is a procedure designed to add bone to the back of your mouth and upper jaw. The bone is added between your jaw and your auxiliary sinuses, which are the large air pockets on either side of your nose. To make room for the bone, the sinus membrane has to be moved upward or lifted. And this has become a routine clinical procedure here in the practice for the last eight to 10 years for those patients who are missing multiple molar teeth in the upper jaw.
Can you pinpoint the advantages of dental implants over fixed bridges?
An implant is fixed directly into the body and as such it is independent of the rest of the teeth. A bridge however is a joining of one or two teeth to fill the space. This can lead to future requirement of root canal treatment or even tooth fracture of a tooth that may not have needed any treatment in the first place, whereas an implant is an independent unit and as such will only be effected if something goes wrong with that.
What will a dental implant cost me?
You can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $400 for the extraction component of the procedure; $150-$350 for your replacement denture or bridge in the interim while your implant in being prepared; and $5,500 to $6,500 for your implant treatment, which will be carried out by a board-registered dental specialist.
For further information on the costs involved in the dental implants procedure click here.