Dental implants are regarded as the most advantageous solution to missing teeth. Implants are recommended in cases where a patient has lost teeth as a result of trauma or injury, decay or the ageing process. They can have positive implications on confidence and self-esteem, improving the function and aesthetics of the smile.
Implants can be used to replace single or multiple teeth, as well as to retain dentures. They are unique in design and can fit into small spaces and also where the bone is limited in both height and width.
Single Tooth Implants
Single Tooth replacement with Dental Implant and Procera© Crown
If sufficient bone is available replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant has several advantages:
- Teeth either side do not need to be drilled or undergo extra pressure
- The surrounding bone is supported and prevented from further resorbtion
- Implants are usually a longer lasting option
- Implants usually are stronger and support the bite forces better
- The don’t move around and interfere with speech like dentures
Multiple Tooth Implants
When several teeth are missing it can become difficult to chew properly.
Replacing these teeth with dental implants can give the confidence to choose any
type food without worry of a moving denture or un-comfortable sensations.
Quite often if several teeth are missing in the same area a bridge can be firmly attached to the underlying implants.
Full Mouth Implants
Full Mouth restoration with Dental implant supported bridgework
Implant Retained Dentures (Denture stabilisation)
Denture stabilisation is a process undertaken to improve the stability, comfort and effectiveness of dentures. There are various methods of stabilising dentures but the most effective is using dental implants to anchor the denture.
Implants are beneficial for denture wearers because they provide unrivalled levels of support and anchorage. Patients with dentures may worry that their dentures will come loose at times – but this won't happen with dental implants and so patients are provided with peace of mind.
Dental Implants FAQs
A. A dental implant is a titanium metal rod which is placed into the jawbone. It is used to support one or more false teeth. In practice, both the false teeth and their supporting rod are known as 'implants'.
A. Implants are a well-established, tried-and-tested treatment. Over 95 per cent of modern implants should last for many years with the right care.
A. Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out. In fact, more teeth are lost through periodontal disease than through tooth decay.
A. It depends on the state of the bone in your jaw. Your dentist will arrange for a number of special tests to find out the amount of bone still there. If there is not enough, or if it isn?t healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first.
A. Placing the implants needs a small operation. This can be done using a simple local anaesthetic, and sometimes with sedation if you are very nervous. Sometimes the dentist needs to use a general anaesthetic for complex cases. You will not feel any pain at the time, but you may feel some discomfort during the week after the surgery. This is usually due to having stitches, and the normal healing process.
A. Your dentist will be able to give you a rough timetable before the treatment starts. Usually the permanent teeth are fitted 6 to 9 months after the implants are put in, but many implant systems now allow the time to be as short as 3 months. Some teeth can now even be fitted at the same time as the implants (known as immediate implants) but you should check with your dentist to see whether these are suitable for you.
A. Your dentist may give you some pain relief after the surgery, or check whether you have them at home to take over the next few days if you need them. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics. Don't smoke, exercise or drive for the rest of the day. Don't rinse the area and only eat soft foods. However, it is important that you keep your mouth clean by brushing, but do not poke the implant site. You can use a chlorhexidine mouthwash every day during the first week after surgery (you can get these from supermarkets and chemists.
A. The implants need to bond (integrate) with the bone after they have been put in. This takes at least 3 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper jaw. Sometimes the implants may be stable enough when they are fitted for the artificial teeth to be attached much sooner than this. If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you may have a temporary denture in the meantime. If you have complete dentures, then you can keep wearing these throughout the healing period once they have been modified after the surgery. A healing cap will usually be placed into the implant site to protect the area during healing.
A. No. But after care is important if you are going to have a long-lasting, successful implant. Your dentist should give you detailed advice on how to look after your implants. Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. However, there may be areas that are difficult to reach and you?ll be shown methods to help you. You may need to visit your hygienist more often but your dentist will be able to talk to you about this.
A. Yes, if you don't care for them well enough. If you keep them clean, and don't smoke, then you should not have any problems.
A. Most artificial teeth attached to implants can only be placed and removed by the dentist. However, if you have complete dentures fixed to the implants by bars, then you'll be able to take them out for cleaning.
A. Your dentist will make sure that the implants won't show during all normal movements of the mouth and lips. You will need to be able to see them, so that you can clean them properly.
A. No, unless you're only having a single tooth replaced. Normally, five or six implants are used to replace all the teeth in one jaw, as each implant can usually support two teeth. For a few missing teeth, two or three implants may be used.
A. Unfortunately, yes it can be. Your Implanologist will be able to provide you with a written estimate of cost. However, over the longer term, implants are usually a more cost-effective and satisfactory option. There are advantages to it, too. An implant to replace a single tooth avoids the need to cut down the teeth either side for crowns to support a bridge. Normal dentures often mean you can't eat or speak well, due to the dentures moving about. But teeth attached to an implant don't cause this problem as they are anchored to the bone more firmly than natural teeth.