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Dental Implants

Effects of tooth loss

When teeth are lost and not replaced there are several detrimental consequences.

      • Tooth movements - tilting, drifting, over-eruption all resulting in malocclusion
      • Periodontal (gum) problems
      • Speech defects
      • Excessive forces on remaining teeth resulting in their fracture or wear.
      • TMJ (jaw joint) problems
      • Bone loss which can result in change in facial appearance and also make future restoartion with implants difficult.
      • Immediate restoration with implants can avoid all of the above effects.

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a titanium screw that can replace the root of a tooth when it fails. Just like a tooth root, it is placed into the jawbone. It is used to support one or more false teeth and the implant will look like a natural tooth. You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants - from one single tooth to a complete set.

Are implants safe and how long will they last?

Implants are a safe, well-established, tried-and-tested treatment. Implants, just like natural teeth, will last for as long as you care for them.

If your implants are well looked after and the bone they are fitted to is strong and healthy, you can expect them to last for many years. However, just as with other surgical implants (such as a hip replacement) there is no lifetime guarantee.

If you don't look after your implants, then they will develop a coating similar to that found on neglected natural teeth. Left untreated, this can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and general discomfort.

Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?

It depends on the condition 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 it isn't healthy or there is not enough bone there, then it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first.

Do implants hurt?

Placing an implant is often easier than taking a tooth out and is usually done using a simple local anaesthetic. You will not feel any pain at the time, but just like after an extraction, you may feel some discomfort during the week after the surgery.

If you are a nervous patient, or if the case is a complicated, then your dentist might give you a sedative. General anaesthetics are rarely used for implants and are only used for very complicated cases which are treated in hospitals.

Different Types of Implants

There are several different types of implants that you can have:-

  1. Single Missing Tooth - For this type of implant, we use the Dental Implant Crown to replace a patients' single missing toothAs well as the normal colour matching and getting the dimensions exactly right, we will advise on the options available for a combination of being built to last and achieving that perfect look.
  2. A Few Missing Teeth (Dental Implant Bridge) - For this treatment, where multiple replacement teeth are supported by an Implant at either side, it is termed a Dental Implant Bridge.
  3. Full Arch Teeth Replacements (Implant Retained Dentures) - Dentures have always been cost effective. By retaining removable dentures with Dental Implants it gives the patient the best combination of cost and performance, but with greater stability. This is not just for improving the comfort in your mouth, but also the ability to eat and enjoy a wider range of food.

How long does the treatment take?

Your dentist will be able to give you a rough timetable before the treatment starts. Usually the permanent false teeth are fitted 3 to 4 months after the implants are put in.

Some teeth can now even be fitted at the same time as the implants (these are called 'immediate implants') but you should check with your dentist to see whether these are suitable for you.

Occasionally, this treatment time takes longer and your dentist will be able to talk to you about your treatment time.

After your implants have been placed, the bone in your jaw needs to grow onto them and fuse to them. This usually takes a few months. Sometimes the implants may be stable enough when they are fitted for the false teeth to be attached sooner than this.

Follow On Care

Your dentist will give you instructions on how to look after your implant. They may give you some painkillers after the surgery to take over the next few days if you need them.

Sinus Lift

If an implant is required in your upper jaw and there is insufficient bone present a sinus lift may be required.

A sinus lift is surgery that adds bone to your upper jaw in the area of your molars and premolars. It's sometimes called a sinus augmentation. The bone is added between your jaw and the maxillary sinuses, which are on either side of your nose. To make room for the bone, the sinus membrane has to be moved upward, or "lifted."

Bone graft

If your jawbone isn't thick enough or is too soft, you may need bone grafting before you can have dental implant surgery. That's because the powerful chewing action of your mouth exerts great pressure on your bone, and if it can't support the implant, the surgery likely would fail. A bone graft can create a more solid base for the implant.

With bone grafting, a piece of bone is removed from another part of your jaw or your body and transplanted to your jawbone. A sythetic or donor bone graft material can also be used. It may take months for the transplanted bone to grow enough new bone to support a dental implant. In some cases, you may need only minor bone grafting, which can be done at the same time as the implant surgery. The condition of your jawbone determines how you proceed.

For further information, ask your dentist about our range of implants or speak to the receptionist by calling us on 01902 763200.