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Why consider dental implants?
If you wish to replace a missing tooth or teeth dental implants are often the best option. Here’s why:
- Implants support the teeth on either side of the gap, and hence prevent drifting or tipping.
- Implants support the socket left after the tooth is removed.
Supporting the teeth on either side
Your teeth coexist in a fine balance with one another. If a tooth is lost or removed this balance can become upset. A gap is left when a tooth is removed and as a result the teeth on either side will have a tendency to drift. This can cause cosmetic problems (notice the difference in gum margin in the image opposite), as well as problems when biting, due to the teeth being out of line.
Supporting the tooth socket
When a tooth is extracted a socket is left in the bone. Rather than create new bone the body’s natural response is to collapse the surrounding bone into the socket. This can result in a reduction in bone quantity and thereby cause a loss of gum in the area. When this happens cosmetic problems may arise as well as problems with the placing of any future implants (bone grafting may be required to overcome such problems).
Download a free information pack
This 15-page report is full of useful information and is ideal reading if you’re thinking about replacing missing teeth. Written by our Leighton Buzzard dentist, Dr Vimal Patel, the guide includes:
- The costs and lowest price alternatives
- Your options and choices for treatment
- Are you suitable for treatment?
- What are the options when replacing missing teeth?
- How long does treatment take?
- Plus lots more …
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are made from high-grade medical titanium alloy. They form a replacement for the natural root of a lost or extracted tooth.
The implant itself is made up of several components:
- The implant itself, which is placed into the socket left by the lost or extracted tooth.
- An abutment, which screws into the dental implant.
- The dental crown, which sits on top of the implant. This is the part that you will see.
Each component is precision-made, with tolerances to within a 1000th of a millimetre. This accuracy ensures that each component fits perfectly and that they are durable, and will last for the maximum possible time.
Whilst a dental implant is an exceptionally good way of replacing missing teeth they still need to be cared for in the same way as natural teeth. It is important to brush and floss around dental implants, just as it is with natural teeth.
How does the dental implant process work?
The procedure for the dental implant process is 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 made and sent to the laboratory for planning.
- Planning of the finished implant, and consultation with you to give approval.
- Production of surgical guides to help during the surgical phase.
- Dental implant surgery.
- Placing of the dental implant.
- A temporary restoration may be provided.
- The healing phase (normally 3–6 months).
- The restorative phase, which is based on the previously planned stages (approximately 1 month). The visible part of the implant, known as the crown, is fitted during this phase.
The total time required for the procedure is approximately 5–8 months.
At the initial consultation and clinical assessment stages you will be provided with a full treatment plan, which will include a schedule and costings. The timings noted 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 missing tooth
A single missing tooth will require the use of 1 dental implant.
Multiple missing teeth
- 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 is possible, it is likely that 4 or 6 implants will be used.
If a removable appliance is required (this is sometimes the case if you have excessive bone loss, as a removable appliance will include additional gum which will bulk out your lips and give a more youthful appearance), it is likely that 4 implants will be used. However, it is possible, in some instances, to use only 2 implants.
How to look after dental implants
The general principal when caring for dental implants is to look after them as well as you would your natural teeth. Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes each time, using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is required. You should also use dental floss or an interdental brush on a daily basis, in order to clean between the teeth and around the dental implant.
Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash 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 the mouth and can lead to dental disease. If left unchecked, this disease may lead to peri-implantitis, a serious infection around the implant, which may in turn result in loss of the implant.
I would like to replace my missing teeth. What should I do first?
The first step towards replacing missing teeth is to visit us at our dental practice in Leighton Buzzard. We’ll let you know if dental implants are suitable for you and provide any guidance or advice you may require.
We offer a free consultation during which your options will be discussed. We’ll assess your suitability for implants, discuss any concerns you may have, and provide you with a full costing.
To request a free consultation, please complete the form at the top of this page.