If you have missing teeth then it is important to consider dental implants as a way of replacing them. Leaving gaps between teeth can result in the opposing teeth and adjacent teeth drifting into this space, over time this can begin to affect your bite and jaw function. If you don’t replace missing teeth then the bone in this area can also continue to resorb, this can result in a lack of bone if you decide to have a dental implant at a later date which could result in more extensive and costly dental implant surgery, including bone grafts to replace the missing bone.
Of course, one of the other reasons for replacing missing teeth is cosmetic. No one likes the look that missing teeth gave!
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are made from a high grade medical titanium alloy. The amazing thing with this material is that your body does not recognise it as a foreign object, in fact the bone around the dental implant will integrate completely. The easiest way to think of dental implants is to think of them as replacing the root of your natural tooth. They provide the anchor onto which the dental crown is placed afterwards. The dental crown is the part that you will see and the dental implant is the root which you will not see.
What are “Mini-implants”
Conventional dental implants are placed with a minor surgical procedure as described below. Mini-implants are now an alternative option which is often ideal to help retain a denture or a single front tooth. Mini-implants are quite like conventional implants in many ways but are inserted into the jaw bone through the gum tissue without any surgery. The procedure is therefore shorter and simpler and the denture or crown can often be fixed onto the implant immediately without the need to wait for bone integration. Your dentist will advise which options are open to you and also the specific benefits and possible drawbacks of the alternatives. One popular advantage is that treatment with Mini-implants can result in a significant cost saving.
How are dental implants placed?
The implant procedure is always performed under a local anaesthetic which means the procedure is pain-free and comfortable. If you would like dental sedation then this can also be arranged with our local anaesthetist, please just let us know if you would like to consider this option.
A typical treatment plan for dental implants is as follows.
- You attend our dental practice in Jersey for an initial consultation where x-rays and records are taken.
- We undertake a full assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan.
- You visit the practice began to discuss the treatment plan and consider your options for replacing missing teeth.
- The dental implant surgery is undertaken with or without sedation.
- You will be provided with a temporary replacement for the tooth if this is required.
- An integration period of between four and six months will then be required to allow your bone to fully integrate with your new dental implant.
- After this integration phase you visit the practice again for an assessment and impressions so that the dental laboratory can make your new tooth.
- Two weeks later you return to the practice to have your new tooth/teeth fitted on top of the dental implant(s).
How many dental implants will I need?
This is a great question and there are no hard and fast rules, however the following is a guide as to how many implants you may need depending on how many teeth are missing.
- 1 missing tooth – 1 dental implant
- 2 missing teeth – 1 or 2 dental implants
- 3 or 4 missing teeth – 2 dental implants
- 5 0r 6 missing teeth – 2 or 3 dental implants
- >6 missing teeth – 4 or more dental implants
The list above is for guidance only as it depends upon how your missing teeth will be replaced. For example, if you have no teeth at all then we could either use four or more dental implants to provide you with a permanently fixed dental bridge, or we could use 2-4 dental implants and provide you with a denture which clicks onto your implants.
A full treatment plan with all of the options should always be given prior to any commitment by yourself.
Problems with Dental Implants
As dental implants have become more popular they have worked themselves into the area of routine dentistry for many dental practices, including our own practice in Jersey. This would not have happened if there were many problems associated with dental implants, however as with any form of treatment there may be certain instances when problems occur.
The following is a list of some of the problems which may occur with implants.
- Peri-implantitis. This is a condition resulting in infection around the bone around your dental implant. It is similar in nature to the similarly named condition, periodontitis, which happens to natural teeth. The cause of this is poor oral hygiene around the gum area. If you keep your new dental implant crown clean, much as you would a natural tooth then you will avoid the gum inflammation which can turn into peri-implantitis.
- The implant itself failing. Dental implants have a very high success rate and this rarely happens, but in some situations it is possible for the implant to fail. If this happens it will need to be removed, the area will need time to heal until another implant is placed, if indeed this is possible.
- The Crown on top of the implant breaks. This is not technically a failure of the implant itself, if this happens normally the crown can be removed, remade and then placed back again onto the existing dental implant. Crowns can break for a couple of reasons, there could either be an inherent manufacturing flaw, or excessive force can break the Crown. One of the things you need to remember is that you will implant will not have the sensation of feeling of a natural tooth, in some situations this means you cannot tell how hard you are biting and so if you are chewing something very solid you need to be aware that you have a dental implant crown.
I would like to find out more about dental implants, what do I do?
For more information please call us on (01534) 875587 or request a free consultation by downloading your personalised voucher on the right of this page.
We very much look forward to seeing you at our dental implant clinic in Jersey very soon.