Dental implants are the most natural feeling option for replacing a missing tooth or teeth, and have become increasingly everyday in dental practice. Dental implants are made from Titanium which is so biocompatible, it has the unique property of encouraging bone to grow onto the implant (“fixture”) surface at a cellular level – a process called osseo-integration, which means the implant becomes integrated into the bone almost as if it were living bony (“osseous”) tissue.
Therefore there is no need to use cement or worry about rejection as a foreign material. The process does require gentle treatment of the bone to ensure it remains viable and heals readily and fully. The implant can then be used to support a single crown, or multiple implants can be used to support a bridge. Implants can be used in conjunction with full dentures (particularly lower dentures) to provide stability and security at the simplest level, to totally supporting and fixing the dentures in place to replicate the feel, security and permanence of natural teeth.
Initially dental implants were developed to use for supporting and retaining a set of false teeth where all the teeth in a jaw(s) were missing. They have been used increasingly where a few or only one tooth is missing, and a single missing tooth is now the most common use for implants. In many cases we are now able to remove an existing (broken down) natural tooth, place an implant into the resulting jaw bone socket and attach a (temporary) crown in one appointment.
A major advantage of dental implants is that it does not involve the adjacent teeth to support, retain or stabilise the missing tooth, whereas partial dentures or bridges rely on being attached to the teeth, sometimes requiring modification to those teeth that might otherwise not have any need of dental intervention.
The implants behave very much like natural teeth being secure and non-removable. They will not decay, however like teeth, they still require cleaning to prevent infection of the surrounding gum and bone. Not every missing tooth or teeth is necessarily a candidate for replacement with implants, either because of lack of suitable jaw bone, or the person’s health status may preclude surgery or make the healing of bone to implant less certain eg ongoing gum disease, smokers, uncontrolled diabetes etc.
What we offer
If you require replacement of a missing tooth or teeth, or want to replace your existing removable denture, then we can assess your mouth for suitability and discuss the options for this form of treatment.
After removal/loss of teeth the jaw bone that supported the teeth (“alveolus”) will shrink or wither away (“atrophy”) without the function of supporting the teeth, much like a muscle wastes (“atrophies”) when not used. In this case there may be the need to graft bone from another part of the body or use an artificial material to regenerate the bone before or in conjunction with implant placement. We perform most of the surgical stages ourselves, but in complex cases we work with an oral surgeon for bone grafting and implant placement before we subsequently proceed to build up the superstructure of crown/bridge/denture.