The main reasons people want to replace missing teeth are for cosmetic purposes and to enable them to chew their food easily. However there are far more nasty consequences that can arise from having not replacing missing teeth.
If you’re considering replacement teeth, this article provides you with a top level overview of the whole dental implants procedure. Please bear in mind that for specifics about your own treatment, you should call for a free consultation with our Dental Implant Co-ordinator.
1. Dental implant discussions
Once you have decided to progress with dental implants, you will discuss your own personal case with our dental implant specialist. Once the best option has been agreed on, you will be provided with a full treatment plan which highlights:
- The costs of the dental implant procedure
- What is included and excluded in those costs
- The risks and benefits of dental implants
- Whether dental sedation is offered or not and if it is what is the fee
- How many appointments will be required and at what interval
- What standards of care your dental practice will offer you
- What level of commitment is expected from you as the patient
- The complaints procedure in place
You then have all the information you need to make an informed choice about whether you wish to go ahead with the treatment or not.
2. Implant planning stage
During this stage you may be required to visit the dental practice two or three times. You may be required to go for CT scans and x-rays. These show the exact dimensions and density of the bone where the implant is to be placed, and enables the dental implant surgeon to be clear as to the dimensions of the implant that he can place.
The way your top and bottom jaws/teeth meet with each other will also be assessed to allow the dental technician to replicate the way your jaw moves in the dental laboratory when they are making your final crown.
Your dental implant surgeon (implantologist) and dental technician will work closely together during this phase to decide where the final crown/bridge/denture is to go, work out how they should look and then work backwards from there to plan the exact place of the dental implant.
3. Dental implant placement
With modern dentistry techniques the implant placement procedure can be made comfortable and relatively pain-free. If you are particularly concerned then please ask your dentist for sedation, which will enable you to completely relax and drift off into your own twilight world whilst dental implants are placed.
Your dentist will need to drill a hole into the bone which exactly matches the diameter required for the dental implant. The implant will then be gently placed into this hole and the gum will be stitched over the top. More often than not your dentist will then provide you with some form of temporary tooth replacement. In some instances this is not possible but this should be already explained to you in your treatment plan during the diagnostics stage earlier on, so this should not come as a surprise to you.
Once the implant is placed and you can leave the dental implant centre and wait for the dental implant to heal.
4. Dental implant healing
The healing phase is very important. During this phase the gum will heal over the top of the dental implant and the implant itself will start to integrate into the bone. This process takes anywhere from 3 to 6 months.
After this integration process has occurred and the implant is fixed solidly in your jaw we can then move on to the reconstruction phase.
The missing teeth are then replaced with the final crown. The new ‘unit’ comprises:
- The dental implant itself
- The abutment which screws into the dental implant
- The crown which attaches to the abutment
The dental implant and the abutment are standard manufactured items. Your crown, on the other hand, is a custom made dental device tailor made to meet your exact requirements by a highly skilled dental technician during the initial phases.
The crown will be made to look exactly like your surrounding teeth, with the surface texture, colour and anatomy all characterised to blend in perfectly with the surrounding dentition. If for any reason you are not happy with the crown, make your oral surgeon aware – it can be sent back to the dental technician if necessary to be remade.
6. Follow up
After your crown has been fitted, you will be asked to return to the dental implant centre for a follow up a couple of weeks later, to ensure that everything is working fine and that the implant is exactly as you wanted it to be.
7. Ongoing care
As with natural teeth your dental implant requires ongoing care. Keep all of your teeth clean and floss regularly to avoid bacteria build up and associated complications.
The Implant Experts is a specialist dental implant centre located in Maidstone Kent. We offer the highest quality dental implant advice and implant placement for our own patients and for patients of other dental practices in the local area.
If you would like to discuss dental implants with us, call to arrange your free initial chat with our Dental Implant Co-ordinator where you can discuss your situation, find out what the various treatment options entail and their prices.
Did you know that there are more bacteria in your mouth right now than there are people on earth? A scary thought but it doesn’t mean you’re riddled with gum disease! The vast majority of bacteria that live in our mouths and in the whole of our body are on the friendly side. In fact they actively help to keep gum disease at bay, and keep our bodies healthy by curbing the activities of their more ominous brethren at bay – the bacteria that can make us very ill.
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, patients may consider a dental implant or a more traditional dental bridge. They may well be guided by cost and end up choosing the cheapest option without fully appreciating the pros and cons of the different treatments available to them.
As an example, let’s compare a traditional cemented dental bridge with a single tooth dental implant. The former is certainly cheaper than the latter – but why is that?
Just consider how a dental bridge is made. As the name suggests, a ‘bridge’ must be created to support the replacement tooth. Take a look at this 2 minute video which compares a single tooth dental implant and a three unit bridge to replace one missing tooth.
If you are missing one or more teeth due to trauma, tooth decay or gum disease, then you may be a good candidate for dental implants – the majority of people are. Read through some of the points below to learn more.
1. You have a failing tooth which is still in place
If you have a tooth (or teeth) which is badly affected by decay or gum disease, or has broken beyond the point of repair, a dental implant may be the best choice. We recommend that you make this decision before the tooth is extracted as sometimes an implant can be placed straight in at the same time.
2. You are trying to save failing teeth
If you are facing extensive dentistry to try and ‘save’ your remaining teeth, implants are worth considering as an alternative. Opting for dental implants will reduce the amount of dentistry you may require in the long term and provide you with robust teeth which may be more aesthetically pleasing than your failing teeth.
3. Your root canal treatment failed
Root canal treated teeth are susceptible to decay and fracture. Many patients who have failed root canal treatment opt for dental implants which are not susceptible to decay and almost never break. Implants are an excellent and prudent alternative to the root canal, post and core, crown lengthening, and crowning procedures.
4. You are in good health
For implant surgery you should be of good health. If you have any underlying medical diseases you should discuss them with your oral surgery specialist to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants.
5. Your remaining teeth are healthy
The teeth, which will not be extracted during the implant procedure, must be healthy and free from tooth decay or gum disease. Other conditions will need to be treated before surgery.
6. You have bone loss in the jaw
Although you do need to have sufficient bone to receive the implants, there are bone augmentation and different types of implants available for borderline patients.
Some patients who have previously been told that they don’t have enough bone, can now have treatment with a special type of implant called a zygomatic implant.
7. You have sinus expansion
This occurs commonly when teeth are lost from the upper back jaw and the sinus cavity expands, dropping down into the space formerly occupied by the root of the lost tooth. In order to place an implant, the sinus floor can be adjusted by adding a bone substitute. This procedure is called a sinus floor bone augmentation or a sinus lift.
8. You have a fear of dental procedures
Dental implant surgery can be carried out under local anaesthetic as with normal dental work. In fact most of our patients find dental implant pain to be less than during a dental extraction.
However for patients who are particularly anxious, we can offer intravenous sedation to allow you to relax peacefully while we carry out your treatment.
9. You are concerned about post operative pain
Although you may have mild post-surgical soreness for a few days after surgery, an over-the-counter pain reliever will alleviate the discomfort for most patients.
10. You are a smoker
Smoking can inhibit proper healing of an implant but this does not prevent smokers from having implants successfully placed and restored. However, the implant can be more likely to fail in a smoking patient than a non-smoking patient. You should speak to your oral surgeon for more specific information relating to your dental needs and the effects of smoking.
If you believe you could be a good candidate for dental implants and would like to discuss your options with The Implant Experts, call to arrange your free initial chat with our Dental Implant Co-ordinator where you can discuss your situation, find out what the various treatment options entail and their prices.