Implant dentistry is a field in dentistry to replace missing teeth with titanium fixtures placed in the jawbone. These fixtures are anchored in the jawbone and are meant to function similar to roots of natural teeth.
Trained dentists will place the fixtures and usually some time is required before attaching the permanent crown to the fixture.
During the consultation and diagnosis process, we will utilise digital scans to achieve an accurate planning sequence before the treatment is performed. Should the need arise, we will also utilise 3-dimensional scans and software to achieve a very accurate virtual model to plan the treatment. This in turn translates to improved safety and predictability of our patient’s implant treatment.
Traditional Implant Placement
This method of implant placement has been adopted since the conception of dental implant placement in the 1960s.
Flapless 3D Guided Surgical Stent Placement
This method utilises advanced 3D technology to create a surgical guide for precise implant placement
If this method is adopted, implant placement can frequently be carried out with having to release the gum.
No loss of bone
When a tooth is missing, there will be bone loss that will occur at the missing tooth area. This can lead to bone loss in the neighbouring teeth. When an implant is placed within the bone, this reduces the bone loss effect drastically.
Improve chewing efficiency
Implants also feel as close as it can to natural teeth. Patients with Dental implants enable the patient to eat with more force and confidence. Therefore, they are able to chew better and more effectively. This will translate to food tasting better. This also helps to improve diet and health, as the patient is able to eat normally and not have to rely only on 'soft diet'.
Neighbouring teeth will stop drifting
Missing teeth if left unrestored can lead to teeth drifting to try to close up the gap. This can alter the way our patients chew and may lead to an imbalance in the jaw muscles.
No more eating on just one side
Very frequently, when our patients have had unrestored missing teeth for years, they have been eating only on certain areas where there are teeth. Usually this means eating only on one side. Overuse of one side of the jaw tends to lead to increased wear and problems on the overused side. When implants are placed our patients are able to chew normally on both sides again.
No more trimming of neighbouring teeth
One of the other options to replace missing teeth is to do a dental bridge. This requires trimming of neighbouring teeth. Although a very safe procedure, there is always the risk of damage to the nerve of the trimmed teeth. Implants do not involve trimming of any natural teeth.
No pain from dentures
Although dentures have been around for a long time, associated problems with loosening of dentures are usually accompanied with ulcerations and pain. As implants are fixed, this reduces the discomfort from loose dentures.
Reduce 'sunken-in' facial profile
If left as a toothless gap, there will be reduced support provided to the external facial profile. This can lead to a 'sunken-in' appearance. Placing implant-supported teeth in that gap will give the face proper support.
Our dentist will speak in detail our patient’s expectations and requirements.
A full and comprehensive examination will be performed to identify key issues (if any) related to the treatment.
Any relevant xrays will be done.
Our dentist will then relate any pre-existing dental condition identified in the earlier steps to the implant treatment.
Finally, a discussion of treatment plan for implants including duration of treatment, phases of treatment, implant brands and materials used, cost as well as maintenance protocol will be done.
Sometimes, the discussion process may need to be done over a few visits. We, at LQ Dental, pride ourselves on ensuring that our patients get as much information and time necessary to identify concerns and expectations.
Placement of Implant
Dentists will gently insert a titanium implant under local anesthesia.
Implant surgeries can also be done under sedation during which patients sleep throughout the procedure. A consultant anaesthetist will adminster the sedation.
As each patient is different, with varying hardness of bone, the healing period can range anywhere from 10-20 weeks.
Placement of new teeth
After anchoring of the titanium implants to bone, dentists will take a mould of the implants.
The crown will then be sent to a lab for the work to be carried out and crown fabricated. Shade matching will also be performed to match the new crown as close to, or exactly like the neighbouring teeth.
The crown is then fitted and examined, and double-checked with the patient before final cementation. We will only do the final cementation when everything is verified and deemed satisfactory by both the dentist and the patient.
Care for your implants
Patients have to understand that Implants are not ‘superteeth’. They are like our natural teeth and need to be taken care of as such. Regular checkups and cleaning are also required to ensure that any issues are identified early and rectified.
How long is the surgery?
Frequently, the entire procedure for a single tooth implant may be completed in 30mins to 45mins. However, ample time is always given so that treatments can be completed in a comfortable and unhurried manner for our patients.
Is the surgery painful?
As the surgeries are done under local anaesthesia, the surgery itself should be pain-free. Our patients frequently are able to stop pain killers after the second day. We do, however, advise our patients to take painkillers for at least the first 2 days.
As mentioned earlier, IV sedation may be offered to enable the patient to sleep during the procedure.
It is our standard to give 5 days of medical leave following an implant surgery, although many patients do not utilise all 5 days.
A full diagnostic consult is always performed before an accurate estimation of costs can be made. This also helps our patients understand each step of the treatment properly.
Cost of Dental Implants
Costs of dental implants are dependent on a few factors:
Type and brand of implant used
Type of material used for the final crown
Need for other procedures
It is advisable to speak to the dentist to determine the most suitable course of treatment for the case and be advised on any alternatives to the above. Costs can be divided into instalments. Also, you can ask the dentist about our interest free credit card instalment plans.
CPF-paying Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents may use their medisave funds for the surgical portion of the implant treatment. Our front desk will be more than happy to assist you in your claims. For further information, please visit our Medisave Page.
Kindly check with your insurance providers to determine the level of coverage for implant procedures. Our dentists and staff will be happy to provide the necessary documentation for your processing of the claim.
Am I suitable for implants?
Most patients are suitable for implants. Patient with generally good health are good candidates for implants
Conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, when uncontrolled, can affect the success of implants. Once these conditions are brought back under control, implant treatment is once again possible.
Can I leave the gap there?
Leaving the gap there can lead to accelerated bone loss at the missing tooth gap. This can cause the bone attached to the neighbouring teeth to lose bone as well
Unrestored gaps can also cause the neighbouring teeth to drift and tilt to ‘fill up the gap’. This can lead to food trapping and may also alter the way you chew. In the long term, this may translate to in an imbalance in the jaw joints.
The teeth may also over-erupt (grow more out of the gum), leading to possible tooth loosening in otherwise perfectly healthy teeth.
When many teeth are lost and not replaced, this can lead to lack of support in the cheeks and lips, and can make a patient have a sunken-in appearance.
How long do implants last?
Success rates of implants have an accepted 95% success rate over 10 years. With good oral hygiene and regular maintenance, the longevity of the implant can be extended.
External components like the crown, which are prone to wear and tear, may need to be replaced when they are worn out. This usually involves only replacement of the crown and another implant surgery is almost never required.
How do I care for the implant tooth?
Daily brushing and flossing is recommended, just like you would for a natural tooth.
An implant although made of surgical grade titanium is not a ‘supertooth’. Actions like crunching ice and breaking crab shells or cracking hard nut shells with the teeth should not be done as such repeated actions can break the implant and/or crown.
Regular maintenance with the dentist is necessary so that regular checks can be made to determine any issues at an early stage. Usually in early stages, these issues can be rectified simply without any long term problems for the implant.