If you have missing teeth, dental implants may provide the ideal solution.
Tooth loss can occur for a number of reasons and one of the most common is long term neglect of your teeth. They can be lost through accidents as well though, especially if you take part in contact sports such as football. Finally, longer term problems such as periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. Knowing how teeth can be lost is one thing, but if it happens to you, what is the best way to replace them?
To a lot of people, the only way to replace missing teeth is with dentures, or possibly a bridge. However, the idea of wearing dentures isn’t a very attractive one for some patients, including those at the Cygnet Dental Practice and, although dentures have much improved over the years, some people do still find them a little problematic.
The ‘issues’ with dentures
Dentures do offer a reasonable way of maintaining an attractive smile with a full set of teeth; they are not without their disadvantages though. Some people find them uncomfortable and sometimes unstable. This is often due to bone loss in the jaw which makes the dentures fit less securely and therefore move around in the mouth. This can also cause the gums to become sore from the friction. In addition to this, cleaning dentures can be fiddly as they have to be removed for cleaning. It is essential to do this to remove bacteria which could affect your overall oral health otherwise. Interestingly, this is one of the most common ways for dentures to become damaged or broken, when they are dropped into the sink when cleaning them!
So, what other options are available? A dental bridge is one one option, but one ruled out by many people as teeth that are otherwise healthy have to be shaped, damaging the structure of the tooth. The other option available to our Wickford patients are dental implants.
Why have dental implants?
If you have decided against having dentures and presumably don’t want to be left with ‘gappy teeth’, teeth implants offer an excellent way to restore your smile. Whilst they do require minor surgery to have them fitted, this is a one off treatment that provides you with replacement teeth that are not only very strong and secure but, with good care, can last for twenty years, and quite possibly more.
For those unsure of what a dental implant is, it is basically an artificial tooth root made from a special material that allows the bone to fuse around it once it has been placed. This process, known as osseointegration, is what makes the implant so strong and stable. Once this has been established, a crown is attached to the implant and you have a strong and natural looking replacement tooth.
How to find out if you are a suitable candidate
Most people can have implants. Some though may require a prior bone graft treatment if they have insufficient bone into which the implant can be placed. This is crucial for a successful implant placement and bone can be lost if a tooth has been missing for some time or possibly also through periodontal disease. The only way to find out if you can have implants placed immediately by one of our local dentists, is to have a scan. This will reveal the quantity and quality of bone available and also allows us to see the exact position where the implant needs to be placed.
If you are a suitable candidate and wish to go ahead, we must first ensure that your mouth is healthy. This means treating any infected teeth and any instances of gum disease. Failure to do so could lead to peri-implantitis which can cause implant failure.
Because it is an invasive procedure, a local anaesthetic will be given. A small hole will then be placed into the jawbone and the implant placed into it. You shouldn’t feel any pain during this treatment although a little discomfort may be expected. This shouldn’t be any worse than you would expect from other invasive treatments though. As the osseointegration process takes around 3 months to complete, we will provide you with information about how to look after your new implant for this time. In addition to careful cleaning, it is strongly advised that you eat soft foods for a while, and even liquid foods initially. This is to prevent any damage to the implant and surrounding bone.
Although this initial period may seem a little inconvenient, the long term benefits of implants are significant. Not only are they long lasting but they offer a strength and stability comparable, or better than, your natural teeth. Providing that you look after them well, there is little likelihood of any maintenance being needed. Indeed, once established and with good care, you can think of your new teeth implants as you would your own natural and healthy teeth.
If you would like more information about tooth replacement, please call our Wickford practice on 01268 733078.