Dental implants

maria-retzepiPreventive Dental can assist with dental implants for all needs and requirements. We have a specialist, Maria Retzepi, who deals purely with implants for our customers.

A dental implant is used to support one or more false teeth and is simply a titanium screw that can replace the root of a tooth when it fails. Just like a tooth root, it is placed into the jawbone.

To make an appointment, call us today on 020 8874 3877 or email us smiles@preventivedental.com.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant essentially substitutes for a missing tooth root. It is commonly cylindrical or screw-shaped. Each implant is carefully and precisely drilled into the location of the intended tooth and provides a foundation for long-term support of replacement teeth.

Almost all dental implants in use today are made from titanium or titanium alloy, including the ones we use at Preventive Dental. These materials have been shown to be well tolerated by bone. The terms ‘osseointegrated implants’ and ‘endosseous implants’ are widely used to describe dental implants that can develop and maintain a close union with bone in order to support replacement teeth.

If you have missing teeth then one of the alternatives is to do nothing at all and just leave the gaps. In many cases this may be fine however, there are risks attached to this.

Your teeth are in fine balance with one another, your adjacent teeth prevented each other from tipping and the teeth which oppose each other, on opposite jaw, prevent each other from drifting.

This means that if you have a tooth removed there is a tendency for the teeth either side to take into the gap. The tooth on the opposing jaw will also have a tendency to drift down or up.

There are two consequences of this:

  1. dental-implants-wimbledonThe aesthetics of the tooth opposing the space are compromised, take a look at the line of the gum margin in the image here, notice how it is lower than it would have been. The same effect would also happen if an upper tooth was removed, the lower tooth opposing it would drift upwards.
  2. The gap where your teeth removed get smaller, this can mean restoration with either a bridge or dental implants at a later date is far more difficult.

 

Why replace missing teeth?

Dentures and dental bridges can also be used to replace missing teeth, however dental implants also support the bone around the tooth socket. This support means that the bone doesn’t shrink which maintains healthy bone structure and aesthetic of the area.

Dental implant therapy has been around for many years and Preventive Dental have a proven track record. Improvements in materials and surgical techniques have made dental implants the gold -standard treatment in many instances for the replacement of missing teeth.

Are implants safe and how long will they last?

Implants are a safe, well-established treatment. It’s probably true to say that implants, much like natural teeth, will last for as long as you care for them.
How well you look after your implants – and whether you go for your regular maintenance appointments – will have the biggest impact on how long they will last.

If you don’t look after your implants they will develop a coating similar to what you get on neglected natural teeth. Left untreated, this can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and general discomfort. You could get all these problems with natural teeth.

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.

Who is a suitable candidate for dental implants?

Implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple missing teeth or to replace teeth in cases with complete tooth loss. Therefore, almost any situation can potentially be treated with this modality. However, various factors need to be taken into consideration such as bone volume and quality, tooth and jaw relationships, oral habits and general medical health. Your dental surgeon will assess your suitability for treatment with these implants.

How is treatment carried out?

Preventive Dental offers dental implants in Southfields and Wimbledon and takes the following steps:

Phase 1: Treatment Planning – Thorough assessment of your medical health, oral health, the way your teeth fit together and bone volume will be performed to produce an individualised treatment plan.

Phase 2: Surgical Treatment – A minor surgical procedure is carried out to place titanium fixtures into bone. If bone and/or soft tissue are insufficient, there may also be a need for additional bone or soft tissue grafting procedures.

Phase 3: Restorative Treatment – After integration of the implant fixtures to the bone, ‘new permanent teeth’ will be designed and fabricated to fit over the dental implants.

Dental implants before and after

Dental Implants

before-dental-implantsafter-dental-implants
dental-implants-beforedental-implants-after

How long does the treatment take to complete?

It typically takes our team about four months to a year to complete the entire treatment. This would depend on case complexity as well as the need for additional procedures like bone grafting. ‘Immediate loading’ implant, where the entire implant treatment is completed within the same day, is possible for a few selected cases.

How do I maintain these implants?

These ‘new teeth’ are maintained in much the same way as normal teeth. Specific brushing and flossing techniques will be taught, as well as regular dental checks on the implants. Good oral hygiene is required to ensure the long-term success of your implants.

How long will the implant fixtures stay in the bone?

If the titanium fixtures have successfully integrated to the bone and are properly maintained, they should last for many years. However, just as you would expect conventional crowns, bridges and fillings to need occasional repairs or replacements during the course of their lifetime, your implant-supported teeth may also need similar maintenance.

 

Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?

It depends on the condition of the bone in your jaw. Your dentist will arrange for a number of special tests to find out the amount of bone still there. If there is not enough, or if it isn’t healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first.

Placing an implant is often easier than taking a tooth out and is usually done using a simple local anaesthetic. You will not feel any pain at the time but, just like after an extraction, you may feel some discomfort during the week after the surgery.
Sedation is rarely used for implants and is generally only used for very complicated cases.

 

What about aftercare?

Your dental team will give you instructions on how to look after your implant. They may give you some painkillers after the surgery – or make sure you have some at home – to take over the next few days if you need them.

 

What happens next?

After your implants have been placed, the bone in your jaw needs to grow onto them and fuse to them. This usually takes a few months. Sometimes the implants may be stable enough when they are placed for the false teeth to be fitted sooner than this.

If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you may have a temporary denture in the meantime. If you already have full dentures, you can keep wearing these while your implants are healing. Your dentures will need altering, to fit properly after the surgery, and a ‘healing cap’ will usually be placed onto the implant site to protect it.

 

Are the implant teeth difficult to clean?

No. But aftercare is important if you are going to have a long-lasting, successful implant. Your dental team should give you detailed advice on how to look after your implants. Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. However, there may be areas that are difficult to reach and you’ll be shown how to clean them. You may need to visit your hygienist more often but your dental team will be able to talk to you about this.

 

If I had gum disease when I had my own teeth, will I get it with the implants?

Yes, if you don’t care for them well enough. If you keep them clean and have them regularly checked by your dental team you should not have any problems. Smoking also affects the health of implants. So, if you smoke, you may need to look after your implants more carefully. Some dentists will not place dental implants in people who are smokers.

Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?

Most teeth attached to implants can only be fitted and removed by the dentist. However, if you have removable dentures attached to the implants, you’ll be able to take them out for cleaning.

 

What if I have an accident?

Implants and the teeth they support can be damaged by an accident in the same way that natural teeth can. So it is important that you wear a professionally made mouthguard if you play sports that involve contact or moving objects. If just the teeth are damaged, they can usually be removed from the implant and replaced.

However, if the titanium implant itself is damaged beyond repair, it can be safely left in the jaw if it is too difficult to remove. Another implant may be fitted alongside it to replace the damaged one.

 

What happens if the implant does not fuse with the bone?

This happens very rarely. If the implant becomes loose during the healing period, or just after, it is easily removed and your jaw will heal in the normal way. Once your jaw has healed, another implant can be placed there. Or the dentist can make a bridge, fitting it to the implanted false teeth that have been successful.

To make an appointment, call us today on 020 8874 3877 or email us smiles@preventivedental.com.

Courtesy of the British Dental Health Foundation – www.dentalhealth.org