“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. I spoke to Dr Rory Nolan to find out all about it.
Interviewer: How are you Rory?
Dr Rory Nolan: Good afternoon Mel, how are you?
Interviewer: Very well thank you. So tell me what should people consider when they are going to get one or more teeth replaced with dental implants?
Dr Rory Nolan: Well first of all we need to assess their suitability to have the procedure done. So we would look at their medical history and the state of their general dental health to begin with, after which more specifically we would 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 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 would carry out what is a routine procedure these days called a bone graft.
Interviewer: What is bone grafting?
Dr Rory Nolan: For the most part it is quite a straight forward procedure, where we simply place bone filling 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.
Interviewer: Does every patient require bone grafting?
Dr Rory Nolan: The short answer is no, but in determining that fact every patient will require a 3D CT scan to ascertain their bone level and bone volume. This 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 predictable manner. And ultimately what that will mean for the patient is that they will have a more aesthetic and functional restoration placed.
Interviewer: Rory, can you explain what a sinus lift is all about.
Dr Rory Nolan: 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 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. This has become a routine clinical procedure, in the practice for the last 8 to 10 years for those patients who have been missing multiple or more teeth in the upper jaw.
I also got to speak with James Van Den Berg further about dental implants.
Interviewer: James, can you pinpoint the advantages of dental implants over fixed bridges?
Dr James Van Den Berg: an implant is fixed directly into the body and as such it is independent from the rest of the teeth. A bridge is the joining of one or two teeth to fill the space. This can lead to the 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 it will only be effected if something goes wrong with that.
Interviewer: and James, what do you most enjoy about doing this type of treatment for your patients?
Dr James Van Den Berg: What I enjoy most is that I can take a patient, who has got a tooth or a number of teeth that are missing, and I can replace their denture, get them to throw it away. So the patient ends up aesthetically, emotionally and functionally back to where they were originally. As opposed to where they are with a denture, which is they lose their sense of eating, they lose their sense of taste, and they often have to eat soft foods. Where I can put them back to eating a normal diet, they can smile and be happy with their smile, and not scared that their dentures are going to fall out. All those sorts of issues and it’s a genuine pleasure to be able to do that for patients.”