A NEW method of placing teeth implants allows patients to “smile in a day”.
Previously, it could take up to six months for an implant to be completed.
But oral and maxillofacial surgeon Patrick Mehanna, from Wood Street Specialists in Newcastle West, says some implants can now be immediately placed and teeth built on the implants in a day.
“This new technique can be used to replace all of the top or bottom teeth, with four specially angled and designed implants,” Dr Mehanna said.
“Once this is fixed, artificial teeth can be immediately placed.”
This newer technique, called “All on four”, when all the teeth are missing, avoids having to wait up to six months for the implants to heal before having the artificial teeth built.
Dental implants have been around since the mid-1960s.
Essentially, an artificial tooth root made of metal is placed in the jaw where there is a gap.
After this “implant” has been attached and healed, a crown (visible tooth) can then be built on top of the implant.
The whole process typically takes between four and six months.
“Implants are great because they remain fixed in the jaw, not like dentures which are removable,” Dr Mehanna said.
“They’re also better than bridges as they do not involve placing crowns (caps) on adjacent teeth, which is required for dental bridges.”
Many dentists place implants, however, the more complicated cases are often referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon such as Dr Mehanna. “Implants are ideal when one or more teeth are missing in the mouth and a non-removable tooth is required,” he said.
“One implant can be placed to support one tooth, or multiple implants can be spaced and multiple crowns (visible part of the tooth) can be built over implants.
“This way, two implants may support multiple teeth.”
“The initial step in having a tooth implant is to discuss your concerns with your dentist or oral surgeon to identify whether the implant is to fill a missing gap or for better chewing.”
The actual surgery involves making a small cut in the gum, drilling a special hole in the jaw and screwing the implant in.
After complete healing has occurred (the jaw bone actually fuses on to the implant), a crown (visible tooth) can be made on the implant.
Wood Street Specialists has been operating since 2014.
Dr Mehanna and his associate, Bobby Yang are specialist surgeons who are qualified both in dentistry and medicine. As well as placing tooth implants, they also remove wisdom teeth, perform corrective jaw surgery and repair facial trauma.