Dental Implants

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are small but strong titanium screws that are inserted into the jawbone to replace a tooth root and support artificial teeth. Many types of dental prosthesis can be built upon a dental implant –- from a single tooth to a full set of teeth on multiple implants.



What are implant teeth made from?

Implant teeth are made from various materials depending on the size and demands of each patient. Generally for single teeth, they are made from porcelain ceramic. However, for larger spans of teeth, a metal frame with pink and white acrylic portions to mimic the teeth and gums, or a high-strength ceramic or metal frame with porcelain teeth is used.





We provide a wide range of customized solutions. In general, we call them “removable” or “fixed” dentures depending on whether you routinely take them out to clean or the dentist must remove them periodically for professional care. In general, fixed dentures tend to be more costly, but allow greater comfort and ability to chew like natural teeth. Removable dentures are more cost effective and easy to keep clean, but can sustain less chewing force. Both are very good options and offer vast improvements over failing teeth or traditional dentures that sit on the gums.


What are the steps involved in getting dental implants?

We treat every patient as an individual, so every treatment plan is customised. However, the basic steps of the process are these:

Diagnostic- We spend time with you to understand your particular needs and goals for treatment. This will entail a full dental and periodontal (gum) examination, photographs, moulds (or “impressions”), and usually a radiographic (X-ray) examination. Many implant patients require a 3D scan, called a Cone Beam CT, but this can be done locally for our Collins Street practice.


Treatment Planning – Your ultimate treatment result can only be as good as the plan to achieve it, so we consider this a critical step of the process. We work closely with our surgical team and our laboratory technicians to ensure we achieve the right result, in the right sequence, at the right cost.


Surgical Phase – Often dental implants can be placed in the bone on the day that your teeth come out. If this isn’t possible, there will be a period of healing before the implants are placed. When teeth are removed, the bone remodels; this may mean additional augmentation of bone and/or gum tissue is required.


Restorative Phase – This is where the prosthesis is attached to the implant. After the implant has integrated with the bone (usually 3-6 months after the implant is placed), you will receive your new teeth. Colour, shape and size of your new teeth is completely customised; both you and your prosthodontist will work together to decide on the most desirable result for your mouth.


Maintenance Phase – After a successful implant is placed, maintenance will be the key to keeping your implant healthy. An implant with visible plaque/bacteria coating it is 14 times as likely to fail. Dental implants require daily care, like teeth, and professional visits one to two times a year over a lifetime.



How long does the entire treatment process take?

It’s important to know that implants are not an immediate solution to tooth loss. From planning to the time the restorative phase is usually a few months, this allows maximum integration of the implant to the bone and less chance of implant failure. However, we are able to arrange an immediate temporary replacement of your teeth during the healing time so you will not be without teeth.


What are the risks of implant failure?

About 1-2% of all implants don’t take to the bone. It is a relatively minor procedure to remove and replace an implant, with or without a period of healing. This usually occurs at no additional cost to the patient. Once the implant has healed in the bone, about 90% are still in place at 10 years for healthy patients. The better your overall health and the health of your teeth and gums, the longer your implants are likely to last.



Dr Christopher Hart Prosthodontist provides dental implants in Melbourne. Specialist prosthodontist for dental implant treatment in Bendigo and Darwin by appointment.


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