Dental Implants – A Realistic Replacement Tooth
Why many patients are turning to teeth implants as an alternative to dentures.
Tooth loss is a fact of life. Whilst some people will manage to go through life with a full set of adult teeth, many people will lose a tooth or two at some point in their life.
This may be through neglecting oral health or through an accident, but, whatever the cause, the majority of people will seek a replacement, especially if it is a highly visible tooth that has been lost.
For many years, the choice of replacement methods was between a dental bridge, where viable, or a partial denture. Whilst these fulfilled a role aesthetically, neither really offered the security or functionality of a natural tooth.
Discovered accidentally in the 1960s (more of that in a future blog post), dental implants are now widely used across the world to replace lost teeth. They are generally accepted to be the best method available, offering a strength, stability and longevity that bridges or dentures simply can’t match. The implant itself is a screw like object that is made from titanium. It is placed into the bone of the jaw where the missing tooth once was, following x-rays and scans to ensure sufficient underlying bone and precision placement.
The dental implant is then left in the bone and allowed to bond, a process known as osseointegration, gradually fusing the bone and implant together and holding it very firmly in place. This period of time varies a little between patients but is usually around three months. Once the implant is firmly and securely in place, an abutment is attached and a dental crown finally added to complete the new tooth.
Your new dental implant functions exactly as a normal tooth does and can be used to chew or bite your food as you would a natural tooth. Unlike dentures, or a bridge, there is no need for any special cleaning. It is important though to note that whilst the implant can’t decay, gum disease is still a possibility and you should continue to keep your gums clean. Providing that a good oral health regimen is followed, including regular checks at the Confidental Clinic, your dental implants should last for many years – 20 years or more is common.
Full arch replacement
As well as being ideal for individual missing teeth, dental implants can be used where a full arch of teeth has been lost. Rather than replace each missing tooth individually however, they are used in a procedure sometimes known as an ‘All On Four’. We will look at this in more detail in the future, but, essentially, four (or sometimes six) dental implants are placed into the jawbone and a fixed bridge of teeth attached to them. This procedure can sometimes be performed in a single day and offers a fast and secure option for a full arch replacement.
If you have missing teeth and would like to find out if dental implants are suitable for you, please call the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich on 020 8858 1422. We will be happy to welcome you to our friendly dental practice.