Implants offer the next best thing to natural teeth. Whether you need to replace a single missing tooth or restore your full smile, implants can make a huge difference to your life and your confidence.
Dental implants offer one of the most effective and long lasting ways to replace one or more missing teeth They are a reliable and valuable alternative to the more traditional bridges, and there is no need to use adjacent, often healthy teeth, as abutments, therefore preserving your dental capital.
Teeth can be lost for a number of reasons including decay, trauma, infection or gum disease, and this can result in a whole host of problems. Implants can improve how you eat and speak, prevent shrinkage of the jawbone, and keep existing teeth firmly in place.
Implants are titanium posts that are surgically placed in the jawbone to act just like tooth roots. As titanium is a durable metal that is very well tolerated by the body, these cylindrical posts eventually fuse with the bone, providing a firm foundation.
Why have implants?
- Unlike bridges, implants do not need to use adjacent teeth as abutments, which involves removing a substantial amount of often sound tissue to accomodate a bridge.
- Implants help protect the jawbone by keeping it stimulated and they prevent existing teeth from moving around.
- They eliminate the speaking and chewing problems that may be caused by missing teeth or ill-fitting restorations.
- They can provide a significant boost to your confidence by restoring your smile.
Implants can act as an artificial root for a single crown, replacing a single missing tooth that has either been removed through injury or decay.
A single implant can also support a bridge.
For patients wanting to restore more than one missing tooth, implants can be used to great effect in supporting a bridge or partial denture. It is also possible to support a complete arch of teeth using as few as four implants.
We are able to use implants to support dentures. In some cases, patients experience their jaw bone changing shape after a long period of wearing dentures. As a result, their dentures can become loose and not fit as securely. Implants provide a strong anchor which the dentures can fix onto, reducing the need to rely on an acrylic mould fixing to the roof of the mouth. The implants also prevent bone loss as they provide strong foundations just like natural tooth roots.
Your dental implant treatment will take more than one appointment.
The first stage of implant treatment involves an initial appointment where we take x-rays and scans of your mouth. We will need to check if you have sufficient bone volume for an implant to be placed successfully, as in some cases the jaw bone can start to degrade.
Once we have decided on the best treatment and where we believe is the best location for your implants, we will create a treatment plan, outlining an appointment schedule.
At The Dental Chambers, we have invested in having our own CBCT scanner which means we can take 3D scans of your mouth, giving us precise measurements of the jaw bone, cheeks and teeth. We receive the scans instantly and can make decisions during the appointment about whether we believe you can have implants without complications.
What happens if I don’t have enough bone for implants?
The jaw bone can start to shrink if you have had teeth missing for a while. It’s a natural process that occurs when there aren’t any teeth roots to provide a foundation. We can replenish this missing bone with bone grafting. Find out more.
How long your treatment will take does depend on your individual case. Single implants usually take about 30 minutes to place, whereas more complex procedures (such as bone grafting and multiple placements) can take a few hours.
We always make sure that you are aware of how long treatment will take and what steps we will take to make sure you are as comfortable as possible. We use local anaesthetic and can offer sedation for more nervous patients who are worried about having surgery.
Placing the implants
Having an implant fitted usually takes two steps. First, your dental surgeon will make a small incision to expose the bone, which is then drilled into the bone. If you are having a single implant to replace a single missing tooth, the hole will be made where the root used to be. The implant is placed in the hole and the gum is then stitched over. We will take x-rays to confirm that the implant has been correctly placed.
It will take a few months for the implant to fully fuse to the bone, a process called osseointegration. When healed, we will need to expose the implant. We first use local anaesthetic to reduce pain and discomfort, then make an incision in the gum about the implant. We place a metal cap over the gum which sits above the gum line where the tooth will be. This makes sure the gum heals properly.
We take impressions of the mouth to collect measurements for the restoration that will fit to the abutment.
When fully healed we will invite you back to have impressions made of your mouth. These impressions are used to provide the lab with all your measurements. The laboratory can create bespoke replacement teeth that completely match your natural teeth, taking into consideration the shape of your other teeth, your bite and the colour of your teeth.
We can create CEREC, ceramic and metal bonded, Emax and zirconia restorations.
When we receive your custom-made crown, bridge or arch, we will see you for the fitting. We first make sure that you’re happy with the way they look and feel before fitting. Once you’re happy, we’ll fix them to the special abutment attached to the implant.
After the treatment, we will need to keep seeing you regularly. Implants last a long time but they will be far more effective with great dental hygiene and regular brushing.