What is a dental implant?

I’m sure you’ve heard the term before but what is it exactly? A dental implant is a screw like anchor that’s used as an artificial replacement for a natural tooth root. The screw is made of materials that are compatible with the human body, such as titanium. By attaching to the jawbone and gum tissue, they provide a stable base for artificial replacement teeth, such as dental crowns, bridges and dentures.

A Dental implant can be used to replace a single tooth or several teeth, or to support partial or full dentures. Implants and crowns remain inside the mouth and do not require any adhesives to hold them in place.

The cost of dental implants will vary depending on several factors, such as; how many teeth need to be replaced and whether you require a bone graft or sinus lift. The average price of a dental implant in New Zealand, including the crown is around $5000. If you need addition bone grafting, sedation or sinus lift this price increases.

Tooth implants have many benefits over alternative false teeth options. For example:

  • They longer (if cared for with good Oral Hygiene habits)
  • They prevent bone loss
  • They’re sturdier than bridges or dentures, so patients can eat hard foods
  • They feel like natural teeth

Dental implant treatment can take 3 – 6 months from start to end and follows a three-step process:

  1. At Tulip Dental we believe that a specialist in Oral Surgery should place the screw portion of your implant as they are specifically trained in this field. We will refer you to the specialist who will place the implant into the jaw. It will take 3 to 6 months for the implant to fuse with the jawbone.
  2. Upon returning to your specialist, the implant is uncovered and an extension called a post is attached. Once the gum has healed around the post, the implant and post act as the foundation for the new tooth.
  3. Finally, you return to Tulip Dental and a crown will be made to best suit your natural teeth, considering factors including size, shape and colour. Once completed, the crown is attached to the implant post and you can enjoy your beautiful new smile!
If you do not have any serious medical conditions, do not have periodontal disease and do not smoke, you will most likely be eligible for a dental implant. If you are unsure, book a consult at Tulip Dental or advise any of the clinicians at your next appointment that you’re interested in this option.
The recovery time for dental implants will change depending on your medical and dental history, the condition of your jaw bone before surgery, how many teeth were replaced, and if you needed bone or gum grafting. Depending on your circumstances, the downtime could be a couple of days or a couple of weeks. On average, it takes just a couple of days to feel back to normal.

Dental implants have proven to be a safe and effective solution for replacing teeth for over 30 years. Made from materials that work well with the human body, dental implants serve as a strong and safe foundation for replacement teeth.

One of the benefits of going overseas for dental implants (to Thailand for example) is that it tends to be cheaper. Unfortunately, these reduced costs also tend to come with lower quality materials and questionable infection control, which increases your risks of infection and outcome. Specialist Oral Surgeons in New Zealand go through three additional years and are consistently monitored to ensure quality care.

Once healed, dental implants should be painless and comfortable. Immediately after surgery, however, discomfort and mild pain is expected to last up to a week. Your dentist may prescribe you something for the pain and to avoid infection; otherwise, over-the-counter painkillers can help to manage the pain.

If cared for correctly, your dental implant should last a lifetime. Once an implant is placed strict Oral Hygiene should be followed including 6 monthly appointments with our hygienist to ensure that there is no infection from bacteria.  The artificial replacement tooth attached, however, be it a dental crown, bridge or denture, does have a lifespan, which is generally between 10-15 years depending on how well it is cared for.

The most common alternatives for dental implants include:

  • Removable partial denture (acrylic or metal)
  • Removable complete denture (acrylic or metal)
  • Tooth-supported fixed bridge

The risks associated with implant treatments are preventable. For example, dental implants can fail due to peri-implantitis, which is a form of gum disease that impacts the implant. However, peri-implantitis can be prevented with proper care, including brushing, flossing, and regular appointments with your dentist. Some patients may have a higher risk of contracting peri-implantitis, for example those with a smoking habit, poor plaque control or pre-existing chronic periodontitis. That is why we don’t recommend implants for everyone.

What Are All-On-4 Dental Implants?

All-on-4 is ultimately a denture that is permanently fixed in place with 4 implants. The four titanium implants support a fixed dental prosthesis with 10 to 14 teeth. Once placed, your replacement teeth will look, feel, and chew similar to your natural teeth. All-on-4 dental implants are a permanent solution for a healthier smile for life. At Tulip Dental we can facilitate this treatment plan by having a consultation and discussing your options and eligibility. The making the proper referrals to the specialist for the implant placements and Hamilton Prosthetics for your custom denture.

Tulip Dental Implants and Dentures

What Are The Differences Between All-On-4 And Removable Dentures?

The all-on-4 technique provides patients with non-removable teeth so patients don’t need to remove their prosthesis after eating or before bed. Instead, patients can care for their all-on-4’s similar to how they would take care of their natural teeth. No matter if you choose a fixed bridge or denture, it is important to follow your dentists instructions on how to properly clean your dentures or your all-on-4 fixed bridge.

  • Unlike removable dentures, with all-on-4, you also don’t have to worry about denture adhesive. The fixed bridge of the all-on-4 is stable and won’t move around since it is attached to the implant.

  • Patients are often advised to avoid certain foods that are difficult to chew or bite if they have removable dentures. Patients do not need to avoid those foods if they have all-on-4 dental implants.

  • Removable dentures need to be refitted every few years, but all-on-4 dental implants can last decades without needing restoring or replacing.

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