Dental implants are an extremely effective and long-lasting way to replace teeth that may have been lost through gum disease, decay or trauma. If missing teeth are not replaced, a number of problems can arise, including difficulty eating and speaking, shrinkage of the jaw bone and possible movement of remaining teeth.
A dental implant is an artificial replacement for the root part of the tooth, which is surgically placed in your jaw bone and used to support a crown, bridge or denture. They are small posts made from titanium, a metal so well-tolerated by the body that it eventually bonds with the bone.
- An enhanced smile – implants provide support for new, natural-looking teeth
- Less bone shrinkage – they can stimulate and therefore maintain the jaw bone
- Improved functionality – they can help you chew and speak more effectively
- Better oral hygiene – they are easier to keep clean than bridges and dentures
- Healthy tooth structure retained – there’s no need to remove a layer of enamel from neighbouring teeth ‘as with bridges’
- Single tooth implant – often an implant is placed to support a single crown, offering a natural looking way to fill in the odd gap in your smile.
- Multiple tooth implants – if you have a number of missing teeth, we can strategically place implants to support a bridge or denture.
- All-on-4 – this enables us to place a full arch of teeth on just four or six strategically placed implants. It also allows us to provide implants and replacement teeth on the same day.
The treatment process
- Initially, we assess the health of your teeth and gums, and treat any uncovered problems prior to placing your implants.
- We use x-rays and possibly a CBCT (3D) scan to check the density of your bone and to work out where the implants need to be placed. If we discover you have insufficient bone, we may be able to perform a sinus lift or bone graft.
- We will precisely place the implant under local anaesthetic. Once in position, this is left in place and, over a few months, it will fuse neatly with the bone.
- When ready, the implant is uncovered and a temporary crown fitted. After another few weeks, the gum will have sufficiently healed for the placement of your permanent replacement teeth.
More about dental implants
Dental implants can benefit patients of all ages, as long as the jaw bone is fully developed, and there is sufficient bone density to ensure successful placement. However, the following lifestyle factors and conditions may increase the risk of implant failure:
- Smoking – this can slow down the healing process
- Excessive alcohol intake – another factor that can inhibit healing
- Gum disease – this will need treating prior to having implants
- An impaired immune system
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
Osteoporosis – due to bone density and the medications taken with it hindering healing’
Diabetes – due to impaired healing’
If they are well looked after and you attend regular check-ups, dental implants can last a lifetime. To ensure you benefit from your new teeth for as long as possible, we offer plenty of oral hygiene advice and implant cleaning tips. Our dentists are also trained in the restoration of dental implants.