Dental implants offer a modern, lasting solution to the aesthetic and functional difficulties you can encounter when you have missing teeth or removable dentures. Anchored into your jawbone, they provide a stable foundation for tooth replacements that look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth.
When Dr Effting first arrived in Cape Town and established our Hout Bay practice, the only options available were to make partial or full dentures or to destroy healthy teeth alongside the gap by creating bridges. Dental implants have come to the fore over the last 30 years, and offer a natural-looking solution by replacing the missing root of a tooth, which can then be crowned.
Traditional tooth-replacement methods such as crowns, bridges, partial and full dentures can have disadvantages in appearance and function. With dental implants, you can replace one or more missing teeth or hold dentures securely in the mouth.
A dental implant is a small screw made of titanium that mimics the function of a tooth root. It is inserted into the jaw's bone and, over time, becomes integrated and firmly anchored. Under normal conditions, the healing process can take as little as six to 12 weeks. Once fixed, the tooth replacement in the form of a single crown, bridge or denture, is secured to the implant.
Where can dental implants be used?
- Single tooth replacements
One implant and one crown replace a single tooth.
- Multiple tooth replacements
Multiple missing teeth can be replaced with multiple implants supporting fixed bridgework. For example, a three-unit bridge to replace three teeth in a row comprises two implants and three crowns. Multiple implants can support an even greater number of false teeth. Usually, four to eight implants are needed to replace a full arch (jaw) of teeth (10 or more crowns) using fixed bridgework.
- Combinations of fixed and removable bridgework
Implants can support a section of fixed bridgework with an attached removable section.
This is where two or more implants stabilise a denture. Over-dentures are now considered the standard of care for those who have lost all of their teeth in one or both jaws.
Implant planning before treatment
Precise planning is essential before beginning your implant treatment. At Hout Bay Dental Studio, a vital component of diagnosing and planning your implant case is using our advanced 3D imaging. This gives our team a precise visualisation of your dental structure viewed from different orientations, allowing us to make an accurate diagnosis, take precise measurements and plan your treatment with confidence.
As described above, the first step in our treatment sequence is careful planning. We'll begin with a thorough examination of your individual oral health situation. Using digital radiography and making models of your mouth, we can determine the most suitable treatment plan for your situation.
- Implant placement
The next step is placing the implant in the jaw. We perform this procedure using local anaesthesia. Once the implant is placed, it is left to heal for some time. Healthy bone can form a strong bond with the implant in just six weeks.
- Replacement teeth
When the healing period is complete, the implant provides a solid foundation for attaching your replacement crown, whereafter your replacement tooth is fully functional.