Dental implants have been used to replace missing teeth since the mid-1960s, but in recent years their use has become much more widespread. They can be used to support crowns replacing single missing teeth, bridges that restore a larger span of missing teeth, or even dentures. Implants are manufactured from titanium, a metal that is known to be compatible with body tissues and able to bond with adjacent bone during healing. There is a now a wealth of evidence from studies and from clinical experience to show that dental implants are a safe and convenient way to replace lost teeth with natural-looking results.
What is a dental implant?
Dental implants are suitable for most adults with good general health. Almost every dental implant in use today is made from titanium or titanium alloy, materials scientifically proven to be tolerated by bone. A dental implant is a cylinder shaped screw, manufactured to substitute a natural tooth. Each implant is placed into a carefully drilled socket in the bone. Main aim during installation is the screw thread of the implant to achieve immediate close contact with the surrounding bone. This initial stability is enhanced overtime by further bone growthinti rough surfaces on the implant. This process is known as osseointegration. Although there are a number of restorative options for the treatment of missing teeth, none has proven to be as functionally effective and durable as implants.
In order to support replacement teeth, dental implants have some form of internal screw thread. This allows a variety of components to be fitted (according to the case) for a crown, bridge or dentures.
Did you know...
Around 3.7 million people in Britain have no natural teeth and many find it difficult to wear dentures. Common problems with them is chewing and speech,factors that have a significant effect on their quality of life.
Why have dental implants?
Dental implants have a number of important advantages over conventional crowns, bridges and dentures:
- Implants look and feel like natural teeth.
- Implants function in the same way as natural teeth and there are no difficulties with eating or cleaning the teeth.
- Healthy adjacent teeth do not have to be filed down to act as supports for the missing tooth or teeth. This means that they are therefore less likely to need root fillings.
- The presence of the implant maintains the structure of the bone beneath the replaced tooth, as chewing forces are transmitted through the implant to the bone and stimulate the natural process of bone renewal. This helps preserve a good appearance, both of the restored teeth and of the face.
- Dental implants can be used to give removable dentures a firm grip.
- With dental implants, there is no need to use special glues to hold the false teeth in place, as there is with some dentures.
Am I a candidate for Dental Implants?
Anyone that has missing or severely damaged teeth and good overall health may be eligible for implants. The best way to determine if dental implants are a suitable option for you is to have an oral health assesment in order to ensure that the surrounding tissues (gums, bone) are in good condition.
After care guidelines/instructions
In order to maintain a healthy mouth, a proper at-home oral care regime is essential along with regular dental/hygiene visits. Dental Implants are like our own teeth so they require the same care, brushing as well as flossing. How well you look after your implants and wether you go for regular maintenance appointments will have the biggest impact on how long they will last. If you dont look after your implants they will develop a coating, similar to what you get on neglected natural teeth, what we commonly know as plaque. Left untreated this can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and possible future implant failure.