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dental implants


Dental im
plants are metal anchors placed in the jawbone underneath the gum tissue to support artificial teeth where natural teeth are missing.  The jaw bone then fuses to the surface of the implant by a process known as osseointegration.

The implants are made from titanium with is readily accepted by the body.  

Why should missing teeth be replaced with implants?

  • You loose chewing ability.
  • When a tooth is extracted or removed the jawbone will undergo resorption.  This means that bone in the mouth will dissapear which gives the appearance of a collapsing facial structure.  
  • Removable dentures rest on the gum and because of bone loss they become loose and move around in the mouth.

There are two techniques for implant placement and Dr van Heerden will determine which is suited for each individual and clinical situation.


Two-Phase Procedure

For most patients the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures which from evaluation to completion generally takes six to eight months.

First the implants are placed into your jawbone.  For the first three to six months the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone.  While the implants are bonding with the jawbone, new replacement teeth will be manufactured by your dentist.

Once the implants have bonded to the jawbone the second phase of the procedure will be done.

The implants will be uncovered and small posts attached which will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. These posts protrude through the gum but are not visible once the artificial teeth are attached.

Single-Phase Procedure

Some patients are candidates for immediate tooth removal and immediate placement of an implant.

Bone grafting

On occasion bone grafting or "sinus lift" is required prior to placement of dental implants.  
This happens when there is insufficient bone to support an implant.

Autogenous bone can be harvested from the patient's own body or synthetic bone can be used as a grafting material.

Dental implants require special individual care, brushing and flossing.  Regular check-ups are critical to the long term success of your implants.