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Melbourne, along with other Australian capitals, has seen a tremendous growth in demand for the replacement of missing teeth with tooth implants. When a single tooth is absent it may be replaced with a single tooth implant. However, when there are multiple missing teeth in a continuous segment, then multiple dental implants are required to support a bridge that replaces all the missing teeth. When these are adjacent, patients with missing teeth can receive tooth replacement for one or several detentions absent from the mouth. Small titanium fixtures serve as permanent anchors that support the bridge fitted on top to replace the missing teeth. We offer a variety of solutions with Dental implants in our Melbourne clinic, from single tooth replacement, to full set replacement.

Dental Implants are a specialised area of dentistry that requires numerous components and many things to fall into place to make it work. As such tooth implant treatments can be expensive, and not everyone might be willing or able to have it done for to replace missing teeth. But when taking ‘value’ into consideration, this often far outweighs the monetary cost, because of the potential improvement to a patient’s function, self esteem or quality of life that may often follow fixed tooth replacement.

Those who wear dentures need little convincing to look for more permanent alternatives such as tooth implants, due to looseness, discomfort, inability to bite or chew properly, reduced ability to taste wine, and/or soreness that is typical with dentures. Dental implants offer solutions for tooth replacement by creating a reliable foundation in our jaw to attach a tooth or a segment of missing teeth because they are strong and resilient. When certain teeth are present on either side of a space, other methods such as bridgework can be explored.

However, in contrast to dental implants that are independent and do not attach to natural teeth, a tooth bridge necessitates the filing down of the teeth on either side of the space to receive crowns that can then be used to support the missing teeth. This can lead to damaging the pulp and future root canal therapy.

Watch Dr Kordoulos talk about how by replacing missing teeth independently, dental implants may help improve oral health, aesthetics and function, and by extension the potential impact of this treatment on a patient’s quality of life and self esteem with permanent tooth replacement.

For a single tooth replacement, whether the loss is because of trauma, failed root canal treatment, decay or gum disease, a dental implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction, where possible. This is called ‘immediate placement’. When conditions allow, it is often possible to also fit the tooth to the fixture at the same time as the tooth implant surgery. This is called “immediate loading”, – that is, the loading of the fixture with a tooth.

The benefits and success of dental implants have made them gain tremendous popularity, but the associated costs have sometimes put people off receiving this treatment. Mini implants, whilst also being made from titanium, are much narrower fixtures with less by way of design and surface technology, and far less research, making them substantially cheaper and attracting perhaps those who are cost conscious. However, even though mini implants may, by their name, imply that they are the same as conventional fixtures, only smaller, this could not be further from the truth due to a lack versatility and resilience for long term function. Mini tooth implants are not recognised by most experienced professionals as being adequate for the permanent retention of fixed crowns or bridges.

Compared to reliable tooth replacement with conventional fixtures, mini-tooth implants have a relatively high rate of failure. The problem is that if or when these fail, they often leave behind bony defects that reduce the prospects or efficacy of re-treatment with conventional dental implants

Whilst we do use mini tooth implants from time to time when the indication arises, these might generally be used only as an interim solution that is part of a more comprehensive plan, or alternatively they may be used with clips to provide some retention for a removable denture.

To get the best life out of your teeth, it’s very important to keep them clean, avoid smoking, keep a healthy lifestyle and have regular check-ups and regular cleans at the dentist.

There are two main components to the treatment – the fixtures themselves and the tooth replacement prosthesis that is fitted on top. The dental implants themselves are permanent. But, every person is different in the way that they bite, the types of food that they consume and the habits that they have, and all of these factors can affect the longevity of tooth implants. In most cases the tooth implants themselves don’t need replacing provided they are kept healthy.

As to the prosthesis, the longevity depends on the material that is used. In the replacement of single tooth or a segment of missing teeth, zirconia and metal-bonded to porcelain materials are typically used in the construction. Like with crowns or bridges on natural teeth, these may need replacing every 10-15 years.

Full set tooth replacement on dental implants is most commonly constructed from a high impact acrylic material. These teeth need replacing approximately every 5-8 years, again depending on patients bite, diet, and so on. The replacement of acrylic teeth is a fraction of the cost of the initial tooth implant treatment and probably a similar amount that patients would have spent over that time for most alternative treatments. In some cases we are able to fit porcelain or zirconia teeth for full set replacement to improve their lifespan, but they are also more expensive to replace than acrylic teeth.

Irrespective of all the above, it is merely a guide from our experience and research. There is no way to accurately predict longevity, in some cases the teeth may last well beyond what we indicate to patients, but in other cases it might be the other way around.To find out more about options for deteriorated or missing teeth and tooth replacement with dental implants contact us today on (03) 8845 5400, Melbourne, Australia.

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