Jason Erasmus - Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Christchurch, New Zealand

Dental Implants

Dental implants form a large part of our daily practice here at Milford Chambers.
If you are missing any of your natural teeth, dental implants can provide you with teeth that look and feel like your own. Permanent replacement teeth can be yours without the embarrassment of loose dentures or having to cut into the enamel of adjacent healthy teeth in order to construct a bridge. An aesthetically pleasing smile is quite possible with implants, while at the same time enabling you to enjoy the simple pleasures of normal eating and giving you the confidence to pursue an active life.

Conventional dentures often lead to accelerated bone loss; one reason people choose implants is to prevent ongoing bone loss, which is a natural consequence of the loss of a tooth.

What are Implants?

Dental Implants are Titanium posts with specially activated surfaces. They are placed (implanted) in your jawbone to function in a similar way to a natural tooth root. Your bone grows onto the implants in a process called OSSEOINTEGRATION. After a couple of months they will form a permanent part of your body. Dental implants do not feel any different from natural teeth. They give you security in every situation.

Implant Components

Jason Erasmus Implant Diagram

Are Implants Safe and How Long Do They Last?

Present day implants are based on scientific evidence and have shown a success rate of more than 95%. All surgeons agree that implants are one of the most predictable forms of dental treatment, and in most cases it is a life-long solution. More than half a million people will receive dental implants this year.

What Can We Do with Implants?

Close single tooth gaps
A single missing tooth can be replaced by an implant without having to grind away neighboring teeth. Implants can help save healthy tooth substance.

Complete the dental arch
Several teeth can also be replaced by implants, for instance, with a bridge that is anchored to several dental implants. In this way, gaps of two or more teeth can be closed.

Anchor dentures
Implants can also act as anchors for dentures. They form the foundation for the attachment elements on which the denture is secured. The denture can be easily removed for cleaning purposes. The secure fit of the denture on the implants prevents painful pressure points and injuries on the gum.

The Advantages

  • Dental implants come closest to nature
  • They form a stable foundation for tooth replacement
  • Dental implants make it unnecessary to cut the enamel of neighboring teeth
  • They give dentures a secure hold
  • Dental implants can prevent bone loss

Might I Be Suitable?

X-rays will be needed to determine if you have sufficient quality and quantity of bone. Medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes or previous radiotherapy may affect the bone growth potential and will need careful assessment. In general, most people are suitable candidates for implants.

Does It Hurt?

A small operation will be necessary. In most cases it is possible to place the implants in the surgeon's rooms. Some patients do experience a few days days of discomfort after the operation, usually related to the stitches.

Is the Treatment Expensive?

The short answer is YES, it is expensive in the short run. To this end, it is important that you obtain a cost estimate from both parties involved in your treatment:
1) Your dentist or specialist prosthodontist who will be doing the crown or superstructure on top of the implant
2) From your implant surgeon

Studies have shown that implants are cost effective in the long-term when compared with bridges. In general, implants are not much more expensive than bridges, but the difference lies with the long term success. As opposed to bridges, your implant can be with you for the rest of your life.

Should I Wait Until I'm Older?

Implants are placed over a wide age range. In general, implants are not placed before completion of facial growth (around age 21), with the oldest patient in my practice well in her 80s.

Bone loss as a result of tooth loss is a natural process and can only be altered by the placement of a dental implant to support the jawbone. Bone loss is very common with denture wearers, and compromises the amount of bone needed for support of the denture. This renders the denture progressively more unstable to a point where eating with dentures becomes virtually impossible.

Dental implants restore normal loading of the bone and thereby stop progressive loss of bone.

What is my Next Step?

Dental implantology is a very technical and specialized field of dentistry. Not all dentists wish to be involved in this field of dentistry and might choose to refer you to a specialist prosthodontist for some or all of your treatment.

The first step is to arrange a consultation appointment with Mr Erasmus, during which you will be examined and a 3D scan of your jaw taken to determine your suitability for dental implants.
Should you be considered a suitable candidate, Mr Erasmus will provide you with a quotation for the surgical aspect of your treatment. A detailed treatment plan will also be provided to your dentist to outline the treatment plan and requirements that might be needed before surgery.

Your dentist or prosthodontist will ultimately construct the teeth / superstructure on top of your implants. You should also obtain a quotation from your dentist / prosthodontist for this final phase of your treatment.

Teeth implants figure - Jason Erasmus Fig 1: The implant is placed in the bone. Temporary teeth are worn to close the gap.
Teeth implants figure - Jason Erasmus Fig 2: After osseointegration (typically 12 weeks), the implant is exposed and an impression is taken. Temporary teeth can still be worn.
Teeth implants figure - Jason Erasmus Fig 3: After a further week or two, the final teeth are attached.

Before and After Photos

  • All patients have given their permission for the use of their photos on this website for educational purposesĀ 
  • All these cases were operated by Mr Jason Erasmus
  • Photos are copyright protected