The decision to proceed with dental implant treatment affects your overall health, appearance and well-being. We want you to be fully informed about your treatment options and what is involved with the procedures.
Dental implants are replacement, or substitute tooth roots, used to replace natural tooth roots in areas of the mouth where teeth are missing. It is important to replace the missing tooth as natural tooth roots are embedded in the bone, providing a stable foundation necessary to bite and chew. In essence, the bone holds the tooth roots in
place and the roots preserve the bone. When teeth are missing, the bone that previously supported those teeth deteriorates. This process is called bone resorption. However, the bone can be preserved by replacing missing tooth roots with dental implants. Since the bone actually forms a strong bond to the implants, they can serve the same functions as natural tooth roots.
Documented clinical research demonstrates that implant supported replacement teeth have been successful for over 30 years. Dental implants are designed to be permanent; however many factors contribute to the long term success of implant treatment, such as home care and regular maintenance visits to the dentist. Dental implant treatment is one of the most successful procedures in the medical/dental field, with documented success rates over 95%.
The implants are placed in the bone using a gentle surgical technique. Depending upon the stability of the implant, it may or may not be completely under the gum tissue if a healing abutment is placed. Following the implant placement procedure, the implants are left undisturbed for a period of 5 to 9 months so that the bone can grow around the implants to form a strong biological bond to them. During this bone “integration” phase, you could have some temporary replacement dentures made, so that you never have to be without teeth during treatment.
With implant supported replacement teeth, the appearance of the smile is more natural and the teeth function more like natural teeth. The result is increased comfort and confidence when smiling, speaking and eating. If dentures and partials are replaced with implant supported teeth, the overall enhancement in quality of life is even more significant, with an ability to eat all types of foods, elimination of messy adhesives, and improved speech, comfort and appearance. People who wear dentures often worry that their dentures will fall out when they laugh, sneeze and sometimes even when they eat. Since the bone bonds to the implants, replacement teeth have a stable foundation and are securely attached to the implants, so there is no fear that teeth will fall out.
Are you a Candidate for Dental Implant Treatment?
The first step is an examination and consultation with Dr. Johannes Viljoen to determine whether or not you are a candidate for implant treatment. This usually involves x-rays or a 3D CT scan. During the examination, Dr. Viljoen will be evaluating the area(s) of your mouth where teeth are missing, the quality and quantity of available bone to determine the number of implants necessary, as well as whether additional procedures may be needed to obtain the desired functional and aesthetic result. If you have already lost a significant amount of bone, procedures to add (graft) bone, or create new bone will be discussed. A review of your health history will indicate whether there are any medical conditions that could prevent you from being a candidate for implant treatment.
What Is The Cost of Implant Treatment?
An investment in dental implant treatment is an investment in overall health, appearance and well-being. The actual cost of implant treatment is based on a number of factors, such as the number of teeth being replaced, the type of implant supported teeth recommended and whether additional procedures are necessary to achieve the proper
aesthetic and functional result. The overall fees should be calculated based on the complete treatment from consultations with the dentist and maxillofacial and oral surgeon, x-rays, implant placement, cost of implants, other related surgical procedures like bone grafting, fabrication of replacement teeth as well as the estimated components
and materials necessary to complete treatment and the dental laboratory fees. The only way to accurately estimate the cost for an individual patient is to have an examination and consultation with a dentist and Dr. Johannes Viljoen.
A series of appointments with your dentist will be needed to take impressions of your teeth and the implant abutments; place temporary replacement teeth; select the appropriate shade for your new teeth and try them for proper fit. In between these appointments, the laboratory technician will fabricate your replacement teeth and the
underlying structures that will be attached to the implants.
Although successful treatment is very predictable, there are rare occasions where the bone does not completely bond to the implants. When this occurs, new implants are placed or alternative options evaluated.
Is Dental Implant Treatment Covered by Medical Aid?
Medical Aid coverage of implant treatment depends on the individual policy. However, it is rare to receive any substantial coverage. Since the benefit coverage is determined strictly by the amount spend on the policy, and the limitations on most medical aid plans. In reality, the plans are only designed to cover routine maintenance,
emergencies and basic care. Because the plans are only intended to cover the basics, there is an annual maximum allowable benefit on most plans. Although most companies exclude implants as a covered benefit, many of them will pay the same benefit they would cover for the lowest cost alternative treatment option (partials and dentures) and
some of the diagnostic records. Even if an individual policy includes implants as a covered benefit, the amount of coverage is still limited to the annual maximum allowable.
Pain and Risks
Most implant patients report that the discomfort is far less than they expected. Although everyone is different with regard to pain tolerance, most patients are very comfortable simply taking pain medication afterward. Smoking or putting too much pressure on newly placed implants, as with excessive grinding of the teeth, can cause problems with the bone bonding to the implants and should be avoided.