What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a small screw-like titanium device that is inserted into the jawbone to replace the missing root portion of the lost tooth.
Once the dental implant is securely held by the healed bone in 2-3 months, the dentist can connect a tooth-like crown onto this titanium support.
Why Should You Consider a Dental Implant?
Alternative to replace missing tooth/teeth like bridges or dentures are available too but dental implants have several advantages over them.
Eat better – Missing teeth will reduce your ability to chew well, thus affecting your joy of eating. Dentures can only deliver about 1/5 to 1/4 of the biting force of your natural teeth.
Dental implants are anchored firmly to your jaw bone, thus they can deliver a much stronger biting force, restoring your chewing ability back to normal and will let you enjoy your food much better.
Improved appearance and self-confidence – There is always a risk and fear of having a loose denture the may dislodge at social event that may cause embarrassment. Dentures also need metal clasps to hook on to adjacent natural teeth for support, making it unsightly.
Dental implants instead are fixed and cannot be removed, thus remove all your fear of potentially embarrassing moment, allowing your to smile and eat with new confidence.
Feeling great about oneself will definitely improve one’s self esteem and quality of life.
Increased comfort and convenience – Loose denture and pain from denture wearing are the major complaints from denture wearers. Loose denture does not give security to the wearers and there is always a fear of it dropping out anytime.
This constant fear will make the denture wearers modify and affect the way they move their lips, smile, talk and eat in order the keep the dentures in place. Sometimes leading to socially awkward or embarrassing situations.
Pain caused by denture problem is a frequent and recurring problem as the biting force of chewing is transmitted to the gum, creating pressure sore and ulcer on gum that is in contact with the denture.
Dental implants are securely anchored to the jaw bone. There will not be movement between the implant and surrounding tissue, thus the problems of loose dentures like pain and food trap are eliminated totally.
There is no need to modify your facial muscle to adapt to the denture too.
Improved hygiene and oral health – Constant pressure on the gum and bone below the denture also cause shrinkage of these tissue with time, leading to reduced bone height and volume.
As the supporting gum shrink and change shape over time, the denture will not fit well, leading to loosening of the denture and food trap beneath the denture.
Even if the denture is well fitted to the mouth, food will get beneath the dentures and they had to be removed and washed after every meal, making it a chore and decrease the enjoyment of eating.
Food trap between the denture and the surrounding gum and teeth will lead to increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay, starting up a vicious cycle of losing more natural teeth in the long run if good oral hygiene is not well maintained.
These problems associated with loose dentures will not happen in dental implants as they are firmly supported by the jaw bone.
Avoid the need to trim the neighboring teeth – Bridge used to be the gold standard of replacing missing teeth before dental implant become more popular and affordable.
The bridge gets support from the adjacent teeth to the missing gap and these natural teeth need to be trimmed or grinded down in order to make a normal sized bridge.
This very destruction procedure may cause the natural teeth to die in the future, needing more complex root canal treatment and compromising the longevity of the bridge.
Placing dental implants does not involve the neighboring natural teeth as it gets the support by locking itself to the jaw bone. Making bridge is unacceptable now when the science of modern dental implant has advanced so much in the last few decades that make it highly predictable and affordable.
Dental implants are long lasting – Dentures need to be replaced after every few years when they become loose and ill-fitting. The plastic teeth of the denture also get worn off, decreasing the efficiency of your chewing ability over time.
Having multiple sets of dentures over one’s life time will all add up to a sizable sum of money.
Dental implants can last a long time with proper care and maintenance. It may seem expensive initially, however for long-term benefits and comfort arising from the dental implants mean the initial costs are offset in the long run, making it a worthwhile investment for you.
Dental implants are Medisave claimable – Placing dental implants to replace your missing teeth is an approved surgical procedure for Medisave claim.
You can use your Medisave to pay part of the total cost of the implant treatment.
Certain bone grafting (addition of bone) procedures can also use Medisave approved treatment. This will lighten the cash payment portion thus making dental implants more affordable to you.
Our dentist will inform you in details how much you can claim from Medisave after an initial consultation.
How Long does the Process Take?
The whole process to replace missing teeth with dental implants generally takes about 4 – 9 months depending on the availability of bone.
If you have enough bone height and thickness, there is no need for additional bone grafting procedure and the process takes 4 months for completion (3 months for the titanium implant to fuse with your jaw bone and 1 month to make the crown for the implant).
If there is a lack of bone volume, an additional procedure called bone grafting need to be performed to add bone volume to the site of the missing teeth.
This source of extra-bone can be patient’s own or from other sources that can be used to build up the deficient bone site.
The fusion of the grafted bone with your own bone may take at least 5 months before implants can be placed.
How Many Implants Do I Need?
The number of implants required does not need to correspond to the number of teeth to be replaced.
The number of implants needed depends on your clinical situation, budget and goals.
Our dentists will discuss with you the most economical ways to restore your mouth with dental implants after the initial X-ray and clinical examinations.
How Long Do Implants Last?
Just like natural teeth, the implants need regular and proper care by yourself (with brushing and flossing) and twice a year professional check-up and maintenance by our dentists to ensure long term success.
Is the Procedure Painful?
The insertion of the implants will be done under local anaesthesia and must be painless during this procedure. Once the numbness started to wear off, you will feel some discomfort and mild swelling. Medications will be given to manage the pain and swelling.
Adequate rest and soft diet is recommended for the first few days to speed up recovery. You will be given 2-3 days of medical leaves if you require it.
Am I Suitable for Dental Implants?
If you are missing one or more teeth in your mouth, implant may be a good option. Many older people are worried that their age may be preventing them from receiving dental implants.
However, there is no upper age limit for the procedure as long as general health condition is good.
Dental implant is not suitable for children and teenager as their jaw is stilling growing till the early adulthood. Any age above 20 years old will a suitable time to receive dental implant.
Our dentists will check your general health, the bone quantity in the jaw and will discuss the different implant treatment options available with you.
How many days of sick leave will I get for implant surgery?
You will be given 2-3 or more days of sick leave depending on the complexity of the surgery.
What is the success rate of dental implant?
Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 95%. Those patients who smoke or have diabetes may have a slightly reduced rate of success as these conditions may hinder proper healing after the surgery. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.
What are the risks of dental implant surgery?
All surgeries carry some risks. The risks are rare but patients need to be aware of them before going ahead with placing dental implants. These risks include possible failure of implants, infection, injuring to adjacent teeth and other structures like nerves in the lower jaw and sinus cavities in the upper jaw. Our dentist will discuss with you the risk after the initial consultation. Any risks and side effects are rare and easily treated.
Can I still go for MRIs and CT scans after the dental implant is done?
All dental implants and their components are produced from non-ferromagnetic metals and their alloys. All MRI and CT examinations of patients with implants are thus absolutely safe.
Does dental implant set off metal detectors at the airport?
No. Dental implants are made of titanium, which is not as dense as other metals, so it will not set off the airport security scanners.