• Dr Ashana Harryparsad

Dental Implants - whats all the fuss about ?

Dental implants are the latest innovation to assist in replacing missing teeth.

So what does this mean exactly ?

In the past, your only options to replace a missing tooth was to use a denture (removable plastic appliance) or a dental bridge. A dental bridge was the only option that was non-removable. However it meant that the natural tooth/teeth would need to be cut down to support the replacement tooth. And honestly speaking, how many of us want to have our natural teeth cut down - if nothing is wrong with it ?

Removable chrome partial dentures

With this in mind the development of materials that are biocompatible with the body was developed, namely medical grade titanium, and this lead to the development of dental implants.

It allows clinicians (specifically a maxillofacial surgeon or a periodontist) to place the implant in the area of the missing tooth/teeth and a prosthodontist, like myself, to restore the implant with the crown prosthesis.

What is the role of a prosthodontist in implant treatment ?

A prosthodontist is like the architect in the process. We are able to do the necessary clinical and radiographic assessment to plan the best suitable implant solution for the patient. We also enlist the assistance of a maxillofacial surgeon or periodontist to also assess the patient from a surgical aspect and together a comprehensive plan is drawn up for the treatment of the patient.

Once treatment commences the surgeons completes the placement of the implants, in the position guided by the prosthodontist. Once the implants are placed and healed/integrated a prosthodontist then begins the process of restoring the implants with crowns or bridges.

I have dentures, can I still get implants ?

Yes, definitely !

The current trend is that most complete denture wearers are combing dental implants with there dentures to improve the stability.

Longterm denture wearers will attest to the continuous reduction in stability and retention of the dentures over time.

Placement of dental implants will significantly improve stability and retention and most importantly comfort.

Dental implants also have the ability to transform a denture into a complete fixed solution. NO MORE REMOVING DENTURES AT NIGHT !

Two implant-supported overdenture

Can dental implants fail ?

Yes they can.

Failure of dental implants is a reality. It can happen even before the crown is placed. This type of early failure is most commonly due to failure of the implant to integrate/bond to the bone.

Most commonly implants that fail at a later stage can be attributed to poor oral hygiene and care of the implant.

I have an implant does this mean I don't need to brush around it like my natural teeth ?

This is completely incorrect !

Having a dental implant does not mean that you can slack on your oral hygiene. You need o ensure that you are cleaning well around the implant.

Unlike a tooth which has nerve innovation to it, which allows you to feel pain or discomfort when there is a problem, an implant has no direct nerve supply. This means that if you are not following a proper maintenance routine your implant can FAIL and in most cases it will be too late before you realise it has failed.

So you have to ensure you follow proper home care as well as ensuring you do proper maintenance check-ups with your dentist/specialist.

The above is just a snippet into dental implants. It is am amazing advancement in treatment modalities fro patients who have lost a tooth/teeth.

Should you have more questions or are keen on getting dental implants, feel free to call us, on 011 304 6864 or email us on info@waterfalldental.co.za.


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