A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium that is placed into the jaw to then support a replacement tooth or bridge.
Dental implants are one of the few cases in medicine where possibly the artificial solution has a better functionality than the original organ. Dental implants are made of titanium as this is the only metal substance that goes through a biological bonding process with the bone, known as osseo-integration. Placed by a professionally-trained implant surgeon, a successfully-integrated implant is impossible to separate and has a long life span that, with good health, should last a lifetime.
A dental implant provides several advantages over other tooth replacement options. In addition to looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant replaces teeth without sacrificing the health of neighbouring teeth.
The other common treatment for missing teeth is a tooth-supported fixed bridge that requires adjacent teeth be ground down and crowned to support the cemented bridge. Because dental implants will replace your tooth root, the bone is better preserved. With a bridge, some of the bone that previously surrounded the tooth begins to resorb (deteriorate).
Dental implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact. With complete loss of teeth, implant-supported full bridges and dentures are more comfortable and stable than conventional dentures, allowing you to retain a more natural biting and chewing capacity. Also, because implant-supported bridges and dentures will replace some of your tooth roots, your bone is better preserved. The loss of bone that accompanies conventional dentures leads to recession of the jawbone and a collapsed, unattractive smile.
If you are missing just one natural tooth, then one implant is normally all that will be needed to provide a replacement. Larger spaces created by two, three or more missing teeth do not necessarily need one implant per tooth. However, the exact number of implants will depend upon the quality and volume of bone at each potential implant site. Implants can be used for the following types of replacement:
One implant and a crown can replace a single missing tooth. A dental implant replaces both the lost natural tooth and its root.
Implant-supported bridges can replace a consecutive series of missing teeth.
A series of implants can be used to support a full bridge or denture to replace an entire arch.
Dental Implants can also be used to stabilise dentures. The primary problem with wearing dentures is the constant slipping that makes eating and talking difficult, whilst also commonly causing soreness where the denture constantly rubs against the gum.
An over-denture can be made, that will lock onto implants and stop the denture from slipping. This is a more comfortable solution for denture wearers. It is also ideal for those patients that have a considerable amount of bone loss and are not suitable for bridgework (so much bone loss has happened that aesthetically the teeth would need to be very long and therefore unappealing). For this kind of patient, we also have the cost-effective mini-implant solution.
A key to implant success is the quantity and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed. The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas to successfully place dental implants, due to insufficient bone quantity and quality and the close proximity to the sinus. If you've lost bone in that area due to reasons such as periodontal disease or tooth loss, you may be left without enough bone to place implants.
Bone grafting or sinus augmentation can help correct this problem by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the placement of dental implants. A simple common technique for this is to fill some of the sinus cavities with biocompatible bone grafting material. This then gives more bone density and strengthens the area to allow implants. This will also help with regenerating the loss of bone tissue.
For further information on our treatments, or to book a consultation, call us today on 0161 834 1643. Alternatively, you are very welcome to visit the practice in person any time during our opening hours.