Only when we lose a tooth, do we become aware of how much our dental health affects our quality of life. It impacts on our appearance, body image and self-confidence. When you're missing one or more of your teeth, dental implants offer a modern solution that many dentists consider to be the preferred method of tooth replacement. They provide a stable foundation for tooth replacements that look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth.
In the past, the only solutions were to make partial or full dentures or to destroy healthy teeth by creating bridges. Dental implants have come to the fore over the last 30 years, and offer a natural-looking solution by replacing the missing root and crown of a tooth.
Traditional methods of tooth replacement such as crowns, bridges, partial and full dentures can have disadvantages in terms of appearance and function. With dental implants, you can replace one or more missing teeth or hold dentures securely in the mouth.
A dental implant is a small screw made of titanium that mimics the function of a tooth root. It is inserted into the bone of the jaw and, over time, becomes integrated and firmly anchored. Under normal conditions, the healing process can take as little as six to 12 weeks. Once fixed, the tooth replacement in the form of a single crown, bridge or denture, is secured to the implant.
Where can dental implants be used?
- Single tooth replacements
One implant and one crown replace a single tooth.
- Multiple tooth replacements
Multiple missing teeth can be replaced with multiple implants supporting fixed bridgework. For example, a three-unit bridge to replace three teeth in a row is made up of two implants and three crowns. Multiple implants can support an even greater number of false teeth. Usually, four to eight implants are needed to replace a full arch (jaw) of teeth (10 or more crowns) using fixed bridgework.
- Combinations of fixed and removable bridgework
Implants can support a section of fixed bridgework with an attached removable section.
This is where two or more implants provide stabilization of a denture (a set of removable false teeth). Over-dentures are now considered the standard of care for those who have lost all of their teeth in one or both jaws.
Precise planning is essential before beginning your treatment. At HBDS, we will help to diagnose and plan your implant case. A vital component of this is our use of 3D imaging. The 3D images that we take at HBDS give us a precise visualisation of the dental structure viewed from different angles and slices. This allows us to make accurate measurements and plan your treatment with confidence. This has great benefits for both you and our team in preparing for treatment and avoiding unwanted surprises.
As described above, the first step in our treatment sequence is careful planning. We'll begin with a thorough examination of your individual oral situation. Using digital radiography and making models of your mouth, we can determine the most suitable treatment plan for your situation.
- Implant placement
The next step is placing the implant in the jaw. This is performed in our office under local anaesthesia. Once the implant is placed, it is left to heal. Healthy bone can form a strong bond with the implant in just six weeks.
- Replacement teeth
When the healing period is complete, the implant provides a solid foundation for attaching your replacement tooth. Once the replacement tooth is placed, it is fully functional.