What are dental implants?
Dental implants are like a replacement for the roots of your teeth – they are usually made of titanium, a material that is compatible with bone. Over time, the bone in the jaw fuses with the metal implant and is used to support replacement teeth.
There are many different implant systems available and when competently used they can all deliver a highly reliable form of treatment.
In order to support replacement teeth, dental implants normally have some form of internal screw thread or post space that allows a variety of components to be fitted. Once fitted, these components provide the foundation for long-term support of crowns, bridges or dentures.
Who can have dental implants?
If you have good general health then dental implants will almost certainly work for you. If you have complex medical problems or habits such as heavy drinking or smoking these may negatively impact on any dental implant treatment. This will be discussed at your consultation.
How many teeth can I have replaced?
All the common forms of tooth replacement, such as bridges or dentures can be replaced by dental implants.
If you are missing just one natural tooth, then one implant is normally all that will be needed to provide a replacement. Larger spaces created by two, three or more missing teeth do not necessarily need one implant per tooth, however the exact number of implants will depend upon the quality and volume of bone at each potential implant site.
Implants can be used to support a fixed crown or bridgework OR to secure a removable denture.
There are many options and every case can be dealt with in a number of ways. You will therefore need to talk to someone who has examined your mouth thoroughly, before having a clear idea as to what is possible.
How long will the implants last?
Well maintained implants placed into adequate bone can be expected to last for many years and probably for your lifetime.
Just like your natural teeth good oral hygiene and regular maintenance visits are required and just as you would expect conventional crowns, bridges and fillings to need occasional repairs or replacements during their lifetime, your implant-supported teeth may also have similar maintenance requirements over theirs.
How long does treatment take?
Implant treatment is not a quick fix and can take anything from 6 weeks to over 6 months to complete. Obviously each case is different and will be discussed at your consultation.