Dental implants are used as a means to replace a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth by means of a titanium implant which is placed in the jaw bone and then a false tooth is fixed onto this. Implants are a safe, effective, and well-established treatment options for the replacement of missing teeth. Modern implants will usually last for many years provided they well cared for and maintained. If your implants are well looked after, and if the bone they are fitted to is strong and healthy, you can expect them to last for many years. However, just as with other surgical implants (such as a hip replacement) there is no lifetime guarantee.
Where and how implants are placed requires a detailed assessment including x-rays and scans..
What are the options for implant tooth replacement?
Single Tooth Replacement : Immediately (at the same time an implant is placed) or after a period of healing, an abutment joins the implant to a tooth form called a crown, which replaces the tooth part you see in the mouth. It will hold a custom-made crown that the dental laboratory will fabricate and match to your existing teeth. The custom crown is cemented or screwed onto the abutment to permanently keep it in place. Once the crown is in place, it should be indistinguishable from your natural teeth
Fixed Multiple Tooth Replacement: As with single tooth replacement, temporary healing caps or abutments may be placed on multiple implants until the healing phase is complete. After healing, permanent abutments are attached to the implants. They can attach to custom-made crowns or bridgework that a dental laboratory will fabricate to match your existing teeth. In the final step, the custom bridge, which will replace multiple teeth, is cemented or screwed onto the abutments. The teeth have been replaced without disturbing the healthy teeth next to them, and bone loss h as been halted.
What happens next?
The implants need to bond (integrate) with the bone after they have been put in. This takes at least 3 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper jaw. Sometimes the implants may be stable enough when they are fitted for the artificial teeth to be attached much sooner than this.
If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you may have a temporary denture in the meantime. If you have complete dentures, then you can keep wearing these throughout the healing period once they have been modified after the surgery. A healing cap will usually be placed into the implant site to protect the area during healing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do to achieve long-term success?
As with natural teeth, you will require regular check ups and a conscientious oral hygiene routine in order to take care of the teeth on your dental implants. Appropriate care together with careful treatment planning and correct insertion of the implant are the most important requirements for long-term success.
Are dental implants safe?
Yes. There have been long-term studies into implant solutions for over 15 years, which clearly confirm the high success rate of over 96%.
Are there any requirements for successful treatment?
The basic requirements for successful dental implant treatment are a good general state of health, good oral hygiene and adequate bone quality and volume. If the bone volume is insufficient to support an implant there are various ways of restoring the bone to prepare it for successful implantation.
Who are dental implants suitable for?
For nearly all age groups, they can be used as soon as jaw growth is complete. Apart from this restriction, implants can provide an optimal solution for all age groups.
When can dental implants be used?
When disease leads to tooth loss, when an accident leaves a tooth gap and also when teeth have been missing since birth.
Why are they better then bridges, dentures or other solutions?
In comparison to conventional bridges when dental implants are placed, the neighbouring teeth do not have to be altered to stumps in order to support the new teeth. Healthy teeth, which have to be damaged in traditional methods, are therefore preserved.
Just like natural tooth roots, dental implants transmit chewing forces evenly to the jaw bone. Just like with your natural teeth, the stress of chewing preserves the natural shape of the jaw. If this stress is missing, the jaw bone slowly shrinks away.
Security of fit is another advantage of dental implants. Patients are spared the disadvantages of conventional dentures such as painful pressure points and poor fit. In addition, the palate is no longer covered by denture material.
How long does the whole procedure take?
Depending on the situation it is possible to attach the final denture immediately after insertion of the implant. However, since long-term success is the main criteria in every implant case, this decision can only be made after your dentist has carefully considered the clinical situation. If the crown or denture cannot be attached immediately, an aesthetic temporary denture is placed until the time is right for the final restoration to be fitted.
How is it fixed to my mouth?
In order to take over the function of the tooth root, the dental implant is inserted in the jaw bone by a short operation, usually under local anaesthetic. It subsequently knits painlessly with the bone, forming a solid base for the long-term final restoration.
What is a dental implant?
It is a small screw made of titanium, a well-tolerated metal that integrates readily with the body