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Dental implants have greatly changed the practice of dentistry in the past three decades. Increased knowledge and new techniques within the field of implant dentistry have enormously evolved the efficacy and predictability of treatment with root formed dental implants. The overall success rate of the modern dental implant systems, used in rehabilitation of partially or total edentulism, is reported to be almost 99% today, regardless of type or location.


What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is effectively a replacement root made of titanium or titanium zirconium. The materials are extremely strong and biocompatible so that your body will accept them. Over a period of time, the bone attaches itself to the surface of the implant, which then becomes a part of your body. 1) natural tooth, 2) dental implant, 3) tooth crown

What are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
Implants are reliable, giving a long-term solution to missing teeth.
Implants are non-invasive, eliminating the need for drilling of the adjacent teeth, as would be the case for bridge work.
Implants are preservative, supporting the bone tissue as the root of natural teeth would do, preventing further bone loss and helping to maintain facial shape.
Implants are functional, as they are the closest imitation of the natural teeth.
Implants are aesthetic and look natural standing in harmony with the surrounding soft tissue and adjacent teeth.
Implants are comfortable, offering more stability than conventional dentures.
Implants are appealing, enhancing quality of life and giving you confidence to talk, eat and smile.

What are the Main Steps of Dental Implant Treatment?


Preoperative Assessment
The treating dentist assesses your individual needs and possible treatments using x-ray images and plaster models. Sometimes a three dimensional computer tomography is necessary to evaluate the quality and quantity of the bone tissue. Three dimensional images also help to identify any anatomical structures that eventually are at risk of damage during the implantation. For an implant to be stable in your jaw, the presence of an adequate volume of bone tissue is essential. As such, you might need to undergo a bone augmentation prior to placement of the implant if the examination indicates insufficient bone substance. The treatment options vary from person to person. These may include bridges, crowns, dentures or no treatment at all. We will discuss the options with you and involve you in all decisions about your treatment.

Implantation
The implant will be placed under local anaesthesia, similar to that used for extractions and filling therapy. The dentist carefully raises a small flap in the gum to expose the implant site then the implant will be gently inserted into jaw bone. Thereafter, the gum is replaced and held together with some stiches, which will be removed about a week later. Depending on indications and the type of implant, some of the implants will remain under the gum (submerged implants) and some of them will stick out of the gum. The submerged implant requires a second small surgery to expose them before they can be used.

Healing
Depending on individual medical conditions, the healing period and attachment of the implant to the jaw bone, can vary from six weeks to a few months. Diligent oral hygiene is important and promotes healing.

Restorative Treatment
After completion of an uneventful healing phase, a series of appointments will be arranged to make your crown, bridge or denture. These replacements are made by specialised dental laboratories and involve impression and shade taking. In the anterior segment of your mouth, where an aesthetic outcome is desirable, the dentist might suggest you to allow a six month period wearing a temporary crown to reshape and sculpture your gum in order to create an aesthetic restoration in harmony with the rest of your smile and surrounded by healthy gum tissue.

 

Aftercare
Implant supported teeth, just like natural teeth, need daily cleaning and maintenance. Regular check-ups and preventative hygienist visits are necessary to keep your implants in a healthy state. Inadequate home care will result in probable failure.

Does Implant Treatment Hurt?
The surgery may be followed by some soreness, minor swelling or occasional bruising. The level of discomfort is variable but generally only requires pain killers and should only last for a few days.

The Most Common Treatment Options

After dental implants have been placed, they can be used in many ways:

Replacement of a Single Tooth
Rather than drilling healthy teeth for a bridge, an implant can be used to replace a missing tooth.


 

      

         
Replacement of Several Teeth

They can also be used to replace multiple missing teeth with a bridge on implants. It is not necessary to use one implant for each missing tooth.

              

Replacement of all Teeth

They can securely fix loose dentures using ‘over dentures’ or replace a complete denture with fixed teeth.

          

How Long Does an Implant Last?

A small number of implants, in a very rare event, have to be removed shortly after the placement, due to failed integration. Generally, a well maintained and well integrated implant is believed to last a life time. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and inadequate oral hygiene have the most influence on implant failure. The super structure components like screws, crowns and other restorations need to be maintained and replaced during the lifetime.

Can Anyone Have an Implant?
There is no age limit for replacement of teeth by implant, given that you have healthy gums and an adequate volume of bone to support the implant, although techniques are available to augment bone tissue if necessary. Any presence of gum problems should be addressed and cleared prior to the placement of the implants and patients, generally, are expected to have healthy life-style with respect to consumption of alcohol and tobacco. There are a few medical conditions, like uncontrolled diabetes or metabolic bone disorders, which indicate higher risk factors, otherwise, regardless of the age, anyone who can undergo a routine extraction can successfully receive implant supported tooth replacements.

How Do I Find Out More and Get Started?
Please contact the practice on 01273 582226 If any part of this leaflet is unclear and you require further information. You can also read the Association of Dental Implantology UK’s information leaflet. If you are a smoker, we strongly advise you to quit and remain a non-smoker in the long-term. This will significantly reduce the risk of some implant complications. You can contact the free NHS smoking helpline on 0800 022 4 322.