About Dental Implants
A dental implant is a specially engineered replacement for a missing or badly decayed tooth. They can also be an effective alternative to loose-fitting or uncomfortable dentures. Implants work by successfully replicating a natural tooth- with a titanium post acting as the root and a strong porcelain crown fitting on top to replace it. The result is a securely fixed, hard-wearing and natural looking implant which can have a number of benefits- both aesthetically and health-wise.
A missing tooth may not be causing you any problems at the moment but in the long-term it could result in a number of issues.
- A missing tooth can have a significant effect on your overall facial features. Each time you eat, your gums and supporting bones are stimulated by your teeth. Following tooth loss, this stimulation of the bone ceases so it can start to shrink. Over time, as bone density and volume decreases the muscle and skin on your face can start to sag- resulting in premature ageing.
- When a tooth is missing your remaining teeth can move or rotate meaning that they become misaligned or crooked.
- If you have gaps then food and bacteria can get easily trapped increasing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Missing teeth can make it harder to eat certain foods.
- Depending on where it is, a missing tooth can also cause problems with speech.
- If your gap is very visible you may feel self-conscious and lacking in confidence. Many people actively avoid particular social situations, having photographs taken or struggle with work because they are embarrassed by their missing tooth or teeth.
What is involved in the fitting of a dental implant?
Implants are usually placed under a local anaesthetic although a sedative will be considered in some cases. Fitting of the implants should take around 30 minutes. Following this, a recovery period of between 3-6 months will be required to allow the gum to heal and the titanium implant to fuse with the bone ensuring a stable and secure base for the crown to be fitted to.
The treatment should be pain free although you may feel slight discomfort or soreness in the immediate days or weeks following. This can be managed with over-the-counter painkillers.
Remember that it is important to maintain good oral hygiene standards in order to avoid infection and discomfort. If your implants are not cleaned properly then plaque can form- resulting in infection, bleeding and soreness.
Can I have a dental implant?
If you think a dental implant might be suitable for you then call us today for a consultation.
Before any treatment begins, a thorough assessment will be carried out, taking into account specific patient requirements. This may involve taking x-rays and impressions. Each case is different and a detailed treatment plan will be drawn up for you- to include regular after-care.
Implants can be a suitable option for many people of different ages and in different situations. They are suitable for replacing one or more teeth in a safe, long-term way. Boasting a success rate in excess of 95%, with regular long-term care and if looked after correctly they can last for multiple decades.
Your general health is important and patients who suffer from poorly controlled diabetes or who are heavy smokers may not be considered suitable for surgery due to their higher risk of developing infection once implants are fitted.
Overall, healthy gums and jawbone are the main factors taken into consideration when deciding if dental implants are suitable for a particular patient. For those with less bone volume as a result of previous gum disease there are options of bone grafting or a sinus lift. These will need to take place before the implants can be fitted. We will discuss these with you if they are required.