All About Dental Implants

Dental Implants Diagram

Dental implants are the number one solution for the replacement of missing or failing teeth. They can completely restore appearance, function, and ultimately, self-confidence. We don't currently offer dental implants at the practice, but we can help you decide if they are right for you, and help you choose a qualified and experienced dentist to carry out the procedure.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made out of titanium. Titanium is a noble metal that is highly compatible with living tissue. This means that, even though it’s a foreign body that’s been introduced into the jaw, the body accepts the implant and encloses it with bone, creating a fixed and stable support for single crowns, bridges or dentures.

Why have dental implants?

As our teeth grow into the mouth bone grows along with them to support the roots. If the teeth are lost for any reason, the supporting bone is lost as well.

As implants are integrated into the jawbone they act in the same way as teeth, preventing bone shrinkage and preserving the structure of the face.

Implants can bring back quality of life, by making eating easier and more comfortable and maintaining or improving appearance. This can have a positive impact on self-confidence and even mental well-being – with teeth that look, feel and function like natural ones.

Are implants safe and how long will they last?

The first root shaped titanium implant was placed in 1978. Since that time 3 million implants have been placed in the USA alone with 500,000 more placed every year. Implants offer a safe and well-established treatment option.

There are two components to dental implants, the implant that replaces the root and the component in the mouth that replaces the crown, bridge or denture, known as the superstructure. The life expectancy of an implant will vary with each patient, but many placed over 30 years ago are still functioning well. However, the superstructure will need periodical attention. For example, the crown supported by the implant could need replacing after 10 to 15 years.

How are implants placed?

  1. Stage One in placing implants is the assessment and treatment planning. A full examination will be completed with a review of medical and dental histories, as gum disease, smoking and grinding habits all affect the long-term success of implants.

    X-rays will be taken and in some cases a CBCT scan used to assess available bone. Bone from other sources can sometimes be grafted on to the site if there is not enough present to support the implant.

  2. Stage Two involves placing the implant or implants into the jaw. This is followed by a healing period of about 3 to 6 months to enable the bone to grow around the implant.

  3. Stage Three consists of confirming the implant has integrated, uncovering the tops of the implant and taking impressions to enable the crown, bridge or denture to be made and fitted.

  4. Stage Four is the maintenance phase. Implants need to be cleaned twice daily like natural teeth and checked regularly by the dentist or hygienist.

The Advantages of Dental Implants

  • They are the next best thing to healthy natural teeth

    An implant is strong and stable and restores a lost tooth so that it looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth
  • They are long lasting

    Many implants have been present for 30 years or more. If they are well maintained implants can last as long as natural teeth
  • They conserve bone

    Implants prevent the shrinkage that occurs when a tooth is lost, preserving the structure of the face and preventing other teeth from moving
  • They protect the other teeth

    With traditional dentistry the teeth next to a gap need to be ground down in order to fill the space with a bridge. This weakens the teeth, which can fracture or die later. When an implant is placed it not only restores the gap, it preserves the remaining teeth as well
  • They are fixed in the mouth

    Implants fix the crown, bridge and even a denture firmly in the mouth. They function as natural teeth when eating with no movement when talking, laughing or kissing!

This is a general guide to help those thinking about having an implant. Each case is unique, so for more specific information about your mouth please contact Penny on 01993 831396 or email to arrange a consultation.