If you are currently experiencing a gap in the mouth, you may be wavering over whether to get something done about it.
If the gap is a lost tooth that you didn’t really use much, or if the tooth is further back in the mouth, then you could try to live without it. But having less than a full set of teeth is never ideal, and it doesn’t do much for your self-esteem. (Especially when you laugh out loud and reveal your gaps to the room… Missing teeth are often considered the epitome of old age!)
More seriously, your lost tooth can make the surrounding teeth more vulnerable to infection and decay, and make eating more difficult. If you have lost a number of teeth, your gumline can actually also fall away. This changes the shape of your jaw and the way you look forever.
So if you are wavering, go with your instinct and come and see us, your dental implant specialist, about a dental implant. Getting a dental implant is no longer as expensive as you might think – and it will make you look and feel so much younger. What could be better than getting your youthful looks back again?
How dental implants work
The process of dental implants is safe and simple. Because dental implants are fitted into your jawbone, your dentist will need to check the condition of the bone site and make sure there’s enough bone to hold the implant securely. Your dentist will also use x-rays and arrange a scan to check for nearby blood vessels and nerves.
If you don’t have enough bone in your jaw to accommodate the implant successfully, your dentist will discuss options with you. This may involve bone-grafting, using synthetic bone, or a process called ‘bone distraction’. This is a special procedure which will help your body create new bone on the implant site. If this is necessary, it will simply take a little longer the dentist can fit your new implant.
When the dentist screws the implant into the bone, they use a special instrument to create a ‘thread’ in the bone which matches the thread on the implant. Some dental implants are ‘self-threading’, which means they create their own thread as the implant is inserted.
Once the implant is in place, the dentist uses an ‘implant cap’ to seal the implant site from the rest of the mouth. This will protect the implant site and help the gum to heal around the new implant safely.
Healing times vary, depending on the position of the implant site and the techniques used to access the bone. Any stitches used to help position the gum around the implant cap are usually ready to be removed between 7 and 10 days. However, it may take several months before the implant is ready to receive its final prosthetic tooth. This is because the bone and the implant must completely ‘osseointegrate’ before the final work. Otherwise, pressure and movement could disrupt the healing of the new implant.
After osseointegration (fusion), the dentist removes the implant cap, and attaches an ‘abutment’ to the top of the implant. Then, depending on whether you’re replacing a single tooth or multiple teeth, the dentist will fit either a crown or bridge on top of the abutment. They will carefully prepare your crown or bridge to match the colour, shape and size of your natural teeth. These stages take place either together or separately, depending on the complexity of your treatment. Your dentist will be able to advise.
Your dental implant specialist will then explain exactly how to care for your dental implant. They will then schedule future appointments to monitor your new implant regularly.
Dental implants are a reliable, long-lasting solution for missing teeth with a range of benefits. Unlike dentures, implants feel completely natural and secure, just like the rest of your teeth. This one-off treatment will help you feel complete again, standing you in good stead for the rest of your life.
Find out more about the costs of the procedure, and why we recommend implants as a first choice solution for missing teeth. Please contact us today for a no-obligation discussion. You can reach us on 01458 832 193 or make an appointment at one of our local implant events. See our News page for details.Previous