Dental Implants
The best option available to replace missing teeth?


Dr Keith Doonan, a dental implant expert of North Brisbane, discusses what implants are, why they are often a favoured option for missing teeth, and what is involved in preparing and fitting them.
Dental implants are the most successful form of treatment available for the replacement of missing teeth. They look and feel more like natural teeth than any other option available.

What are dental implants?


Implants are titanium screws which are so biocompatible that bone can grow onto their surface.                          
There are usually three parts to an implant:
• the implant itself (which is buried in the bone),
• the crown (which is the part that looks like the tooth)
• and the abutment (which connects the implant to the crown).

Dental Implants are screws which are screwed into the jaw bone. A tooth can then be screwed or cemented onto it through the use of an abutment (connector). Patients often ask for a dental implant, but what they really want is a tooth. An implant is only one way to replace a missing tooth. The most qualified person to give advice on replacing missing teeth is a dentist who has undertaken further study in Prosthodontics.
Dr Keith Doonan is a dentist with a Masters in Prosthodontics together with many years of experience of both fitting implants and of lecturing internationally on innovations in this field. Keith can advise you of all your options and the pros and cons of each. To explore options contact us.


The miracle of Osseointegration


Up until around the 1940s it was believed that the human body could tolerate but not integrate with implanted metallic materials. Metal plates made of Stainless Steel and Cobalt Chrome were widely used at this time to repair fractured bones.

Then, some medical researchers, Bothe, Beaton & Davenport, found that Titanium appeared to fuse with bone and was almost impossible to remove. This fusion of titanium and bone was later extensively studied and named Osseointegration. It is because of Osseointegration that modern dental implants enjoy such high success rates.


The benefits of dental implants are that they:


• are a long lasting solution to missing teeth
• are very similar to your natural teeth in appearance, feel and function
• restore your bite by stopping the remaining teeth on either side of the space moving and rotating, which often makes it difficult to chew food efficiently
• improve the appearance of your smile
• reduce the appearance of premature ageing and wrinkles
• may help retain bone structure


To see if a dental implant might be right for you, feel free to contact us.

From Ancient Origins to Titanium


Dental implants have been around since ancient Egyptian times. Keith has said that “It is believed they were not used on men as they have only been found in mummies!”
It is only since they have been made from Titanium Metal that they have achieved a high level of success and predictability. This began around 1960 in Sweden and Italy.
Type 4 Titanium is the strongest form of commercially pure titanium available. Some implants are made from Type 5 Titanium Alloy which is not commercially pure.



Are dental implants the right choice for me?


Dental implants should not be placed until growth has stopped, which is usually around 18 years of age. Most patients, who are in good general health with good oral hygiene, are suitable for dental implants although a thorough oral and medical assessment is required to make the final decision.

There are a number of factors that might slightly increase the chance of implants not working as well as they should, these include:
• lack of bone
• an active gum disease
• poorly controlled diabetes
• bisphosphonate medication
• poor oral hygiene
• smoking
• certain systemic diseases


How long does it take to fit a dental implant?


It is possible to fit a dental implant in just one day! However, we would recommend you follow a slower path, which is more predictable and costs less. After all, this is something we hope will last you for a very long time!
Usually, we will wait 6-12 weeks after taking the tooth out before placing the implant.
When we place the implant we wait around 6-12 weeks for the bone to attach to it.
It usually takes around 2 to 4 weeks to make the final crown.
There are a number of factors that can cause the process of fitting a dental implant to take longer but in general we can complete an implant in around 3 to 6 months depending on the complexity. Or we can do it in a day in certain specific situations if you are willing to accept an increased chance of complications and expense.
To see if a dental implant might be right for you, feel free to contact us.
Keith will be happy to help you explore which options are best for you.


Mini Dental Implants


What are Mini Dental Implants?

 

Mini implants  are only 1.8mm wide as compared to conventional implants which are usually 3.5mm or wider. Mini implants are not shorter, just narrower. The picture below (Fig.1) shows a mini implant next to a conventional implant. Conventional implants are more complicated and allow for different attachments to be screwed on to the implant. Mini implants come in one piece, are simpler and usually a lot cheaper but are not as versatile.

Fig.1. Mini Implants compared to Conventional Implants

 

Won’t they break?

It’s very unlikely they will break if used correctly.  Like anything they have there limitations but used correctly they will provide many years of excellent service. They are made of Titanium Type 5 which is a Titanium alloy with 60% more strength than Type 4 Titanium which is used in most conventional implants. A mini implant of 1.8mm diameter is of similar strength to a conventional implant of 3.5mm diameter.

 

Why use Mini Dental Implants?

 

Following the extraction of a tooth the bone and the gum also shrinks away. Dentists call this ‘resorption’. If there is a lot of shrinkage or resorption then there may not be enough bone left to place an implant. There has to be enough height of bone  and enough width of bone to have implants. If a person looses all their teeth then the bone shrinkage is greater  and progresses over time. Look at the picture below (Fig.2.) to see how the appearance of the face changes over time due to the shrinkage of the gums and bone. Because mini implants are narrower (1.8mm) they can be placed when the bone is very narrow (4mm) where as conventional implants would require 6-7mm. This means that by using mini implants we can avoid bone grafting which makes treatment a lot simpler, cheaper, faster and less unpleasant.

Fig.2. Loosing teeth results in bone shrinkage and a change in appearance.

Can you use Mini Dental Implants anywhere

The indications for Mini Dental Implants are more limited than conventional implants.  Whilst you can use them to replace single teeth and for fixed bridges there is currently not alot of research telling us how they will perform in the long term. There are a number of factors which will influence whether Mini Dental Implants are suitable to replace your teeth

Where do they work best

If you have no lower teeth and wear full lower dentures then Mini Dental Implants may be a great way of stabilising your lower denture. Dr. Doonan has been placing Mini Dental Implants for 10 years. In that time he has seen the benefits of Mini Dental Implants in hundreds of patients with Lower Full Dentures

Fig.3. Implant Retained Lower Full DentureLower Full Dentures and Mini Dental Implant

The picture below (Fig.3.)  shows how by placing 4 Mini Dental Implants in the lower jaw, many of the problems associated with Lower Full Dentures can be overcome.

       

Fig.3. Lower over denture with mini implants

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