Whilst we would all love to go through our lives without any dental problems, the reality is that many of us will lose at least one adult tooth during our life, and very possibly more.
There are a number of options available to replace a missing tooth and dental implants are fast becoming the treatment of choice, offering great strength and a natural-looking, long term solution for patients.
What is a dental implant?
There are actually three sections to what most people believe is a dental implant. The implant part itself, is an artificial screw like object which is made from titanium. This is placed into the jawbone following scans to determine the optimum position.
After placement, the implant is left for a period of around three months, during which time the implant and the bone in the jaw fuse together (a process known as osseointegration). This results in a very secure and firmly embedded artificial tooth root. Once fully fused, a support collar called an abutment is attached and used to secure a dental crown to the top of the implant, providing a natural looking and strong replacement tooth.
Does it hurt?
This is perhaps one of the most common questions we are asked by patients. It is an invasive procedure and the idea of a hole being made in the jawbone to receive the implant, may deter some patients. However, the procedure is performed using a local anaesthetic and patients should be reassured that it is no more uncomfortable than many other dental procedures.
Why choose implants over dentures or a bridge?
Replacing one missing tooth
Replacing several missing teeth
Implants to stabilise dentures
Replacing a full arch of missing teeth
Both dentures and bridges can be used to replace a missing tooth. However, denture wearers often find them unstable and may even limit the type of food that they eat because of this. Bridges can offer more stability but the procedure does involve the preparation of otherwise healthy teeth in order to provide anchor points either side of the gap in the teeth.
Implants are somewhat different in that they do not need to affect any of your remaining teeth in addition to being exceptionally strong as well as natural looking. Indeed you should be able to eat and laugh with confidence as soon as the treatment is completed.
Another excellent benefit is that the implant acts as an artificial tooth root, helping to prevent bone loss in the area of the jaw where the tooth was lost. This is not the case with other methods and associated long-term bone loss can cause changes to the shape of your face and/or uneven teeth.
Can implants be used to replace several teeth?
Yes, but rather than replace each tooth individually with an implant; if there are a number of adjacent teeth missing, implants can be used to hold a fixed bridge in place to replace them.
Are dental implants expensive?
Implant treatment is not the cheapest option, but given the long-term benefits, we are confident that they represent excellent value for money and really can be life-changing.
For more information about dental implants and our payment options, please call Chalkwell Dental in Leigh-on-Sea on 01702 475065.