Dental implants are a great option to replace missing teeth. Implants are essentially an artifical tooth root onto which an artificial tooth is placed. The end result looks, feels and behaves like a natural tooth – implants are very durable and will last for many years if good oral hygiene is maintained. Implants also provide a great alternative to dentures and can be used to replace a single tooth, or even a full set of teeth.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, usually made from titanium that is placed into the jaw. A crown or bridge is then fitted on top to replace the missing tooth. The procedure must be performed by a trained dentist and in the right hands, this is a simple procedure.
Several implants can strongly secure a denture in place and give you the confidence to eat what you want without worrying about them coming loose. Patients must have healthy gums and enough jaw bone to support the implants.The procedure of having dental implants is performed over a period of several months. Initially the implant is placed into the jaw bone and left to heal over a period of 3-6 months. During this time the implant integrates with the surrounding bone tissue providing a solid support for the replacement tooth. Once the jaw has healed, an impression is then taken of the mouth and sent to a dental technician, providing the exact size and shape for the replacement tooth. The technician will then build a bespoke replacement tooth (crown or bridge) which will blend in naturally with the other teeth.
Once the replacement tooth is ready, it will be tried in place and small adjustments made to ensure you can bite comfortably. Once you and your dentist are happy, the replacement tooth is then secured in place. Good oral hygiene is vital after implants have been fitted. As well as avoiding decay and gum disease, this will prolong the success and life of the implant. Your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to advise a suitable home care regime to ensure that good oral hygiene is maintained.
What is an implant?
An implant is an artificial tooth consisting of a root and a natural looking replacement tooth. The root is made of titanium, which is placed within the gum to form a secure foundation. The replacement tooth is made of porcelain, or a special plastic (sometimes on a metal base) and it is fitted on top of the titanium root. Sometimes the titanium root is used to anchor a denture firmly in place.
When would I need an implant?
Implants are used to replace a missing tooth, or to replace a tooth that needs extraction. If a gap is left from a missing tooth, not only can it be unsightly but the teeth on either side can tip into it over time, causing problems with the bite and, in some cases, gum disease. Whilst partial dentures can be used to replace missing teeth, implants are usually a much better option since dentures can hasten the loss of the remaining natural teeth.
What does an implant involve?
The procedure for fitting an implant is:
- An initial assessment, after referral to our implantologist Dr Azad Eyrumlu
- Placement of the titanium root in the jaw, followed by a time period for integration
- A very minor procedure to uncover the top of the titanium root
- Taking an impression of the new root and its relationship to the other teeth in the mouth
- Fitting the replacement tooth onto the root
In some we will be able to combine stages two, three and four. This is termed ‘immediate loading’. However, most implants will need 3-6 months before the replacement tooth is fitted on top of the artificial root.
Are implants safe? How often will I need to replace my implants?
Implants are tried-and-tested, they have been used for a long time and are considered very safe. Over nine out of ten modern implants will last forever.
Can everyone have implants?
One of our implantologist will examine and take x-rays of the area to be treated, which will indicate whether implant treatment is the best option. Sometimes you may need a bone graft or a procedure called a sinus-lift if the implant needs additional support. Our implant team is trained to care for all necessary treatments in conjunction to dental implants.
How can implants improve dentures?
Full dentures can be anchored with just a few implants. You will be able to chew more effectively and can avoid the necessity of covering the palate with a plate. This improves the enjoyment and taste of food. The dentures are still removable but they are held by a bar or magnets.
How do I care for my implants?
Oral hygiene for implants is similar to cleaning your natural teeth. An implant can last many years provided it is properly looked after. The dentist or hygienist will show you the most effective home care techniques. Regular check-ups with the dentist and hygienist are essential to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. The dental hygienist will use special instruments for scaling to avoid scratching the surface and you will be given instruction in using special brushes or floss.
Can my implants be affected by gum disease?
Yes, the gum surrounding the implant is the same as that around your original teeth, so gum disease could occur if your oral hygiene is lacking. You need to maintain good brushing, flossing and interdental cleaning.
Will I be able to remove the teeth connected to my implants?
Only a dentist can remove implanted teeth. The exception to this rule is for denture wearers who have their dentures stabilised by the use of implanted supports such as bars or magnets.
Are implants expensive?
Implantology is a long-term investment. The improvement in quality of life it offers can be dramatic. Many patients report being more confident and eating more comfortably after they have had implants fitted. That’s why implants represent real value for money.
Southern Dental aim to offer affordable treatments with dental implants, as we aim to offer this treatment to a range of patients. With an average cost of £1495 including the crown, dental implants are easy, safe and affordable.