What is a Dental Implant?
Dental Implant, also known as dental implant fixture, is a small titanium screw which is placed into your jawbone to replace the root of missing tooth.
Dental Implant is important in maintaining one’s dental health as it is used to replace
missing teeth, restore function and aesthetic (especially during eating and talking). It can also prevent movement and share the load of the remaining teeth as the biting forces are distributed across more units in the presence of dental implant. Furthermore, dental implant eliminates the inconvenience of wearing a removable denture and it can be permanent if it is well-maintained with good oral hygiene and regular dental check-up.
Dental Implant Procedure
The process of placing and restoring dental implant involves 3 stages and may take slightly more than 3 months to complete.
Stage 1: Consultation and Case Evaluation
Comprehensive examination will be done by dental surgeon to evaluate patient’s suitability for dental implant treatment. For patients that are not suitable for dental implant, they can consider dental bridge or removable denture as alternative treatment options.
During the examination, the dental surgeon will examine the patient’s general oral health especially size of missing tooth gaps, teeth, and gums. The dental surgeon will go through patient’s medical history too. We always recommend our patients who have systemic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart conditions to have their health assessed by their own medical doctor for their suitability for dental implant surgery.
Further dental implant assessment such as Panoramic X-ray, CBCT (3D) scan, intra-oral photographs and/or mould of teeth will be taken to determine one’s eligibility for dental implant and to assist dental surgeon with pre-operative treatment planning.
These Assessment are important for the dental surgeon:
- to check bone density and quantity around potential dental implant site
- to identify potential risks (Position of Maxillary Sinus, Inferior Dental Nerve, Mental Nerve, Lingual Artery, Roots of Adjacent Teeth)
- to check diseases around dental implant site
- to check position of dental implant and if the position is compromised by malalign neighbouring or opposing teeth
After all the assessment are done, dental surgeon will discuss with patients regarding their case and formulate a treatment plan for the dental implant in accordance to meet the patients’ needs.
Stage 2: Placement of Dental Implant Fixture.
Placement of dental implant fixture into the jawbone is a surgical procedure. It will take around 45 to 90 minutes depending on the complexity of treatment.
This surgical procedure is normally done under local anaesthesia. For patients who are anxious about the surgery, they may choose to carry out the treatment under intravenous (IV) sedation in our clinic for greater comfort. IV sedation will be administered by a qualified anaesthetist.
During implant fixture placement surgery, dental surgeon will make a small cut on your gum to expose the jawbone. A drill will be used onto your jawbone to create a space for dental implant fixture. Then, the dental implant fixture is placed into the space. Stitching the surgical site up marks the end of the procedure.
Sometimes, simultaneous bone grafting and/or soft tissue grafting at the dental implant fixture site may also be indicated as part of the overall treatment plan if the quality and quantity of the bone and soft tissue is not ideal. This is usually carried out even when there is sufficient bone or soft tissue just to stabilize the dental implant but there is still some deficiency around it.
After the surgery, you may experience some discomfort such as pain, bleeding, bruising or swelling around the dental implant site for 1 to 5 days depending on the complexity of surgery.
Charismile Dentistry only uses dental implants that are approved by Health Sciences Authority Singapore. Each dental implant brand has their own special features in terms of their design or technology supported by their own research and clinical studies.
Stage 3: Placement of Dental Implant Crown, Bridge or Denture.
After the placement of implant fixture, patients will usually have to wait around 3 to 6 months to ensure complete healing of the bone and gum around the dental implant site. Once the dental implant has osseointegrated (fusion of dental implant and jaw bone) with the jaw bone, the implant will be exposed and the gum around it will be prepared with a healing abutment. The healing abutment will be placed for 2 weeks before a mould is taken to fabricate the final crown, bridge or denture. Sometimes, the healing abutment is already placed during the surgery if the jaw bone is strong with a little risk of damaging the dental implant and site of the jaw bone in the early stage.
Additional Step: Bone Graft.
For patients with major bone loss, bone graft is usually placed onto the future dental implant site after extraction. This is necessary prior to the dental implant placement to allow the right implant size to be placed and to ensure better osseointegration (fusion of dental implant and jaw bone).
Types of Bone Graft
- Sinus Bone Graft
- Vertical Ridge Bone Graft
- Horizontal Ridge Bone Graft
- Soft Tissue Graft
Sometimes, soft tissue graft will be placed to ensure dental implant stability in terms of function and aesthetic for patients with severe gingival recession. Soft tissue graft increase the volume of keratinized tissue in order to provide coverage on dental implant and helps to prevent peri-implantitis (a disease that causes loss of supporting bone around dental implant). This can be done during or after the dental implant placement.
Types of Soft Tissue Graft
- Free Gingival Graft
- Connective Tissue Graft
- Pedicle Graft
For more information about Dental Implant, feel free to contact us at 6557 2655 to book an appointment with us or visit Charismile Dentistry at International Plaza or King George’s Avenue.