What are dental implants?
Dental implants are one of the most life like replacements of missing teeth that you can get, and the latest advances in dentistry have made these very popular and successful long term. If you have a missing tooth or teeth, then implants could be the ideal replacement for you.
An implant is made of titanium and acts as an artificial root which is embedded into the bone of the jaw. On top of the implant you can place a single tooth like crown or you can combine a number of implants to replace a whole mouthful of teeth!
By using this permanent option you can throw away removable dentures and leave behind the sticky denture fix. Preparing and shaping teeth on either side of spaces is also no longer needed as the implant supports its self – so no more unnecessary treatment of healthy teeth!
An implant is natural looking replacement which functions and looks like a real tooth giving you the confidence to smile again!
Who is suitable for dental implants?
Nearly everyone is suitable for dental implants. If you have good general health then dental implants will almost certainly work for you. Habits such as heavy drinking or smoking can increase the number of problems associated with initial healing and thereafter may negatively influence the long-term health of gum and bone surrounding each implant. Remaining teeth might also be compromised making treatment planning less certain.
Most people will look to dental implants as they become aware of problems in the mouth or after the recent loss of a tooth. Although it is tempting to focus on the more exciting prospect of a new tooth supported by an implant, we must first look at the reasons for the initial problem and treat these accordingly. If there are other basic problems then we would need to address these as part of an overall plan for your mouth to keep everything healthy. This is essential for the long term success of your treatment.
How long does treatment take?
For routine cases, from the time of implant placement to the time of placing the first teeth, treatment times can vary between 3 month and 6 months. The availability of better bone can be used to decrease treatment time, whilst more time and care must be taken with poorer bone, which can therefore extend treatment times beyond six months.
How many implants do I need?
If you are missing one natural tooth, then one implant is normally all that is required. If you have a slightly bigger space, where you have lost 2 or more teeth then you will need more than one implant but not always one implant per missing tooth. Three missing teeth can usually be supported by 2 implants.
If you are missing all your teeth then in the upper jaw you will often need a minimum of 6 implants if you want to have a complete set of fixed teeth. The lower jaw often needs a minimum of 4 implants to support a full fixed set of teeth. All these number are averages and often a detailed examination of the jaw is required to determine the number needed and assess you individual mouth and bone.
Everyone is unique!