What Are Implants?
Dental implants involve placing an inert titanium fixture to replace a missing tooth (or teeth). This fixture integrates with the surrounding bone and becomes firmly fixed into place. An implant fixture can be used to support a single crown in order to replace a single missing tooth, or multiple implants can be placed to anchor dentures or bridges to replace multiple missing teeth. Crowns, dentures and bridges that are anchored by implants are made of similar materials to those that are supported by natural teeth and are usually made to be a normal tooth-like colour to fit in with the surroundings.
Are implants right for you?
Implants have revolutionized dentistry but they are not the only way of replacing missing teeth. Additionally, not all missing teeth need to be replaced but there are often several good cosmetic and functional reasons to do so. Dentists will often discuss a bridge or a denture as an alternative to an implant.
Aside from the fact that implants are fixed firmly into place to look and function like natural teeth, one of the main advantages of implants in the fact that they can be placed without having any direct impact on the surrounding teeth. In most cases, placement of an implant represents the ‘best’ way of replacing a missing tooth.
A lack of bone, ongoing gum disease and a complicated medical history are among some of the reasons why implants are not ideal in some situations. Implants can also be expensive due to the components and expertise involved.
Who places implants?
It is extremely important that implants are planned in great detail and placed WELL. Inaccuracies in planning or placement of implant fixtures can lead to failures and significant damage to the adjacent teeth, nerves and other areas. Worse still, implants that are placed in non-ideal positions are extremely difficult to remove and may be left in place, creating long-term problems.
At Dentists of Alphington, we believe strongly that implant fixtures should be placed by a specialist that is formally qualified to do so. A periodontist is a dental specialist that has extensive post-graduate training in the placement of implants. In some cases, a specialist oral and maxilllofacial surgeon may also be appropriate.
Prior to placing an implant fixture, planning will usually be completed by a general dentist in conjunction with one of the above specialists. These specialists will not usually restore implants with the overlying crowns or bridges and this is usually also completed by an experienced general dentist.
Implants at our practice
At Dentists of Alphington, most of our implants are placed on-site at our practice with a specialist periodontist. Dr. Peter Apostolopoulos has been placing implants for many years and is a well-respected specialist (see our team for more information). An initial consult and treatment planning is usually completed with an experienced general dentist to make sure that an implant is the right option for you. The dentist and periodontist will collaborate through the planning phase, the fixture placement and placement of the overlying restoration to ensure the best possible result.
We believe that our team has a unique set of skills when it comes to getting great results with implants. Read about the advantages of implants at our practice.
We believe that having an implant specialist as a valued member of our staff gives us a unique advantage in providing our patients with the best expertise with an integrated environment for planning, all in the one location. We also make some referrals to external periodontists and oral surgeons if case warrant this and have good relationships with the local specialist community.
Any questions? Contact Us to discuss if dental implants might be an appropriate solution for you and to arrange a consultation.