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What is a dental implant?

Dental implants replace a missing tooth with an artificial tooth that looks and functions just like a natural tooth. If you have lost any of your natural teeth, then dental implants are the next best thing to restore your teeth to their former glory and give you back your confidence. Dental implants have been in use for over forty years and have revolutionised cosmetic dentistry.  Although more expensive than other procedures, dental implants are one of the most successful treatment options when natural teeth are missing.

The loss of a tooth can cause further concerns and problems within the mouth. Remaining teeth may shift and drift into the empty space, making oral hygiene harder and often leading to tooth decay and gum disease around the surrounding teeth. A dental implant can fill the empty space, leading to better oral health, improved appearance and greater stability of your other teeth.

A dental implant consists of a small cylindrical titanium post, which is inserted into the jaw bone at the site of the missing tooth to replace the natural tooth root. It is made from strong and long-lasting non-toxic materials which won’t corrode. An artificial tooth (a crown or a bridge) is then attached to the post to complete the restoration. The implant restoration will be crafted to match your other teeth so that it shouldn’t be noticeable, and will create a stable and long-lasting anchor for your new artificial tooth.

Many patients are electing to receive implants for both aesthetic and health concerns, making implants a popular choice. Dental implants have many advantages to offer patients with missing teeth, such as:

  • Improved oral health. As dental implants don’t require the use of adjacent teeth for support (as dental bridges do), remaining teeth are left intact as they don’t need to be reduced in size to make room for other dental structures. Implants also prevent your other teeth from shifting.
  • An improved smile. Dental implants can help you restore your smile to its fully functioning and aesthetic best, with structures that look and feel like your own teeth. Using advanced prosthetic material, implants are customised to fit your own unique profile, and possess the same aesthetic properties as your natural teeth, merging seamlessly into your smile.
  • Confidence and self-esteem. You will feel much more confident to smile if you can flash a full set of teeth when you do, and dental implants can fill any gaps and improve your confidence and self-esteem.
  • Comfort and improved speech. Slurring or mumbling are common in patients with tooth loss, as mouth and facial muscles become lax; but implants can improve these problems. They are more comfortable than wearing dentures, and after a few weeks you won’t even be able to feel the implants as they function and feel exactly like your own teeth.
  • Prevent bone deterioration. As implants are fused to your jaw bone, this will improve your facial profile, preventing the face from sagging around the jawline.
  • Convenience. Unlike other dental treatments such as dentures, implants are a fixed restoration, so there is no need to remove them for cleaning or maintenance. Larger bridges will be removed by the dentist for cleaning and maintenance at regular intervals.
  • Durability. Implants are one of the longest lasting dental restorations and are extremely durable. As they are designed to fuse with the bone, they can withstand greater bite pressure than dentures can. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.
  • Dietary and nutritional benefits. Chewing can often be difficult with dental restorations such as dentures and can affect how and what you eat as a result of this. Implants can restore natural function of the mouth, allowing you to eat without a problem.

Are dental implants the best choice for me?

Missing teeth is not the only criteria for a patient to be considered suitable for dental implant treatment. Certain requirements need to be met before undergoing implant surgery, including:

  • The quality of bone structure, as implant success depends heavily on this factor. A certain amount of bone density is required to support the implant; however, if bone structure and density is an issue, there are certain techniques that can be used to increase bone quality to a sustainable level to allow for implant placement.
  • The condition of a patient’s oral health is also a very important factor - to minimise complications arising with implants, your teeth and gums need to be free from any decay, damage and/or disease. Before proceeding with implant treatment, these dental issues would need to be treated and maintenance of oral health is imperative even after the implant has been completed.
  • The patient’s willingness and ability to maintain their teeth and gums is highly important to ensure the implants remain healthy, structurally sound and clean.
  • The choice not to smoke (you’ll have to stop smoking during the healing process at the very least), as smoking can negatively impact the dental implant process.

Ultimately, to determine your suitability for dental implants, you will need to consult your dentist for a thorough assessment, as each case is different. During your consultation, the dentist will take x-rays to reveal if there is enough room in your mouth and enough bone to support an implant.

If for any of the reasons listed above, you’re not a good candidate for dental implants or need to make some alterations before proceeding, your dentist will discuss these options with you during the consultation and come up with a treatment plan to suit your individual circumstances.

Are there any disadvantages to dental implants?

  • Cost – implants are usually the most expensive of the restorative treatment methods.
  • As a result of the cost, some insurance plans may not cover dental implant treatment.
  • Implants require a surgical procedure, and any surgery carries some risk.
  • Patients may experience temporary swelling and pain after getting an implant, although this will not last long.
  • If you have insufficient bone for implant placement, bone grafting may be necessary.
  • While implant posts are extremely durable, the crown placed on top may sometimes need replacing.
  • Not everyone is a suitable candidate for implants – those with leukaemia, uncontrolled diabetes or other chronic illnesses may not be suitable, as these conditions may delay or interfere with healing. Smoking tobacco can also slow healing, so smokers will need to consider whether they would be able to stop smoking before committing to implant surgery.

What care do dental implants need?

Dental implants don’t need any special care post-recovery; however, they do require the same care and maintenance as natural teeth. Commitment to good oral health practices as well as regular cleans and check-ups are important to maintain the integrity of your implant.

How much do dental implants cost?

There are numerous considerations to take into account when getting implants, and the cost can vary significantly between each individual. The dental implant procedure will include consultations, x-rays, the creation of the artificial tooth, the insertion of the implant and the placement of the crown, as well as post-surgical check-ups, at a bare minimum.

Thus, the cost of dental implants is higher than other restorations; however, when you consider that the implant will usually last a lifetime, It is actually quite a cost-effective treatment and can be great value for money.

The cost of implants will vary depending on several factors, as each patient is different and there are many variables involved in this type of treatment. The type of treatment you need, as well as the number of teeth needing replacement will all factor into the equation. If you need dental work done before you will be a suitable candidate for getting an implant this will also factor into the cost.

As the price of implants is subject to change and each patient’s circumstances and goals are vastly different, please contact Lentini Dental to book an appointment, discuss your options and get a quote.

Are dental implants painful?

As dental implants are embedded through an incision in the gum into the jawbone using a screw, it certainly sounds painful – but most patients find that pain during surgery is minimal. While you will be awake during the surgery, a local anaesthetic will be used to quell the pain. Post-surgery, you are likely to experience some swelling, bleeding and mild discomfort or pain for up to 48 hours; however, the pain is not severe and can be effectively diminished using over-the-counter pain relievers. Mild pain and discomfort should completely disappear within a week.

How long is the recovery process after getting an implant?

The recovery time from the surgery is usually up to a week for the swelling and discomfort to disappear; however, you should be able to return to normal duties sooner than that. Although you won’t feel it, the bone and structures surrounding the implant will take from three to six months to fully heal, as the bone integrates with the implant.

Is there an age limit for getting dental implants?

Not really – it is not suitable in children or teenagers as the bones are still changing. Dental implants need to be placed in areas where the bones have fully developed, as further bone growth would compromise the implant.

What is the success rate of dental implants?

Dental implants are considered the most successful dental restorative treatment. While there is a very small chance of failure or complications, with an experienced dentist and the use of advanced implant techniques, chances of success are very high.

The process of getting dental implants

There are several stages to getting a dental implant, once the procedure has been decided upon. The process undertaken for dental implants will depend on the type of implant you are receiving and the number of replacement teeth that you require, but in general the following steps will be taken.

First, the gum is prepared to allow the bone to be drilled so that the post can be inserted. The implant post is placed into the jawbone and covered while the bone fuses to the implant in a process called osseointegration. The permanent crown or bridge is precisely created using x-rays of the patient’s mouth to ensure a correct fit, and attached to the post to complete the restoration. The intervals between procedures can be quite lengthy as time is needed for the implant to bond with the bone.

Why choose Lentini Dental?

Functioning as a state-of-the-art Dental Implant Centre, Lentini Dental can replace a single tooth or a full set of teeth. Lentini Dental offers a wide range of dental implant services in Melbourne from titanium dental implants to dentures stabilised by implants and advanced dental implant treatments. Where dental implant surgery is required, Lentini Dental has the experience and expertise to offer you complete peace of mind. 

Dr Lentini is experienced in dental implant surgery to recreate dental function and he is continually updating his clinical knowledge.
The Lentini Dental Implant Centre in Werribee is certified by the Australian Society of Implant Dentistry and has a broad range of experience in treating complex cases with bone grafting and implants. Having completed additional training in Lisbon, Portugal, Dr Lentini uses advanced surgical techniques to replace full arches with the All-on-Four technique or individual teeth within a day. Patients requiring all their teeth removed need not go without teeth when implants are placed in most cases.

All stages of Dental Implant Surgery, including placement of the titanium dental implants and the insertion of the implant-supported replacement tooth or teeth are performed by Dr Michael Lentini.

Results will vary. All invasive procedures carry risks. You should seek a second opinion prior to treatment.

Cerec Cad Cam Technology

At Lentini Dental, we use state-of-the-art CEREC technology to create the artificial tooth (a crown) that will be attached to the implant post. CEREC is a highly durable material that can be precisely made to fit your mouth perfectly and match your existing tooth colour. With the help of CEREC technology, our dentist can create crowns by computerised software in a single appointment, decreasing the time you need to spend at the dentist.

The dentist has complete control of the shape, contour and fit of your crown, leading to greater comfort and precision. CEREC crowns are strong, durable and metal-free, and because the dentist will take a digital impression of your tooth, there is no need for nasty-tasting and messy impression materials to be used. Your crown will be created and fitted quickly and with no fuss – leaving you free to enjoy the results sooner.

Advanced Dental Implant Surgery Treatments

While most implant surgeries are relatively routine procedures, here at Lentini Dental we also carry out more advanced surgery treatments in particular circumstances.

Bone grafting:

A treatment that is most often only available from experienced dental implant centres, Dr Lentini has many years of experience in bone and soft tissue grafting. Soft tissue grafts are used to improve the appearance when the gum is deficient and is frequently required in cases where excessive bone loss has occurred.

'All-on-Four' technique:

Having studied in Lisbon, Portugal, Dr Lentini's Dental Implant Centre practices an advanced dental implant surgery technique.  All-on-Four technique, a trademark of Nobel Biocare, enables patients to have dental implants inserted and a provisional bridge fitted for 'same day teeth'.

To find out how Lentini Dental implant surgery can help you rediscover your smile, stabilize your loose dentures or provide dental implants, Contact Us today.

Dental Implants Case Study

View the before and after photos examples of our patients who received dental implants here

For further enquiries, call (03) 9742 6928.

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