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Why consider dental implants?
If you wish to replace missing teeth then dental implants are often the best option because:
- They support the teeth either side of the gap to prevent them drifting/tipping.
- They support the socket where the tooth was lost.
Supporting the teeth either side
Your teeth are in fine balance with one another, if a tooth is lost then the adjacent/opposing teeth will have a tendency to drift. This can cause cosmetic problems (notice the difference in gum margin on the image opposite) as well as biting problems from the teeth being out of line.
Supporting the tooth socket
When the tooth is extracted there will be a socket left in the bone, rather than build new bone your body will naturally collapse in bone around this hole. This can result in a reduction in bone quantity thereby causing a loss of gum in that area. This means that the cosmetics of that area may be compromised as well as the possibility of placing a dental implant in the future (Bone grafting may be required to overcome this).
What are dental implants
Dental implants are made from high-grade medical titanium alloy. They form a replacement for the natural root of your tooth after a tooth has been extracted or lost.
The implant itself is made up of several components:
- The implant itself which is placed into the socket where your tooth was lost.
- An abutment which screws into the dental implant.
- The dental crown which sits on top, this is the part that you will see.
Each of these components is precision made to within 1000th of a millimetre, this ensures that each component fits perfectly with the next and lasts for the maximum amount of time.
Whilst a dental implant is an exceptionally good way of replacing missing teeth, they still need to be cared for and looked after the same as natural teeth. Brushing and flossing around the dental implant is just as important as it is with a natural tooth.
How does the dental implant process work?
The stages of having a dental implant(s) are as follows:
- A free consultation to discuss your suitability (download your privilege voucher using the form at the top of this page).
- A full clinical assessment with a specialist.
- Diagnostic stages – Approximately 1 month
- CT scans.
- Impressions sent to a laboratory for planning.
- Planning of the finished result and consultation with you to approve.
- Production of surgical guides to help during the surgical phase.
- Dental implant surgery.
- Placing of the dental implant.
- Possibly providing you with a temporary restoration.
- Healing phase – Between 3 and 6 months
- Restorative phase, based on the planning stages previously – Approximately 1 month.
Total time required is approximately between 5 & 8 months.
At the initial consultation and clinical assessment stages you will be provided with a full treatment plan including timings and costings. The timings above may vary considerably if you need bone grafting, additional surgical procedures or more complex restorative options.
How many dental implants will I need?
Single tooth missing
A single missing tooth will require use of 1 dental implant.
Multiple teeth missing
- 2 missing teeth may only require a single implant but will more than likely require 2 dental implants
- 3 or 4 missing teeth will usually require 2 dental implants
- 5, 6 or 7 missing teeth will usually require 3 dental implants
All teeth missing
If you decide to have a permanently fixed bridge which looks and feels as close to natural teeth as possible then normally 4 or 6 dental implants will be used.
If a removable appliance is required (which is sometimes the case if you have excessive bone loss as the removable appliance will have additional gum which will bulk out your lips giving a more youthful appearance) then 4 dental implants will normally be used however it is also possible, in some instances to only use 2.
How to look after dental implants
The general principle with dental implants is to look after them as well as you would natural teeth. Brushing twice per day for 2 min each time with a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is required, followed by daily flossing or brushing with an interdental brush in between the teeth and around the dental implant.
Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash in between meals is also recommended as this can keep bacteria at bay.
People with dental implants should avoid smoking as this destroys the natural bacterial balance in your mouth, this can lead to dental disease which if left unchecked can progress to peri-implantitis, a serious infection around the implant which can result in losing the implant.
I would like to replace my missing teeth, what should I do first?
The first step to replacing missing teeth is to visit our dental practice in Leighton buzzard. We will let you know if you are suitable for dental implants and provide any guidance or advice if required.
We offer a free consultation for replacing missing teeth, at this consultation we can assess your suitability for implants, provide a full costing and discuss any concerns you have.
To request a free consultation please complete the form at the top of this page.