Dental implants are a great treatment when you are missing one or more teeth. Teeth have many functions, not only are they responsible for chewing, they also help to define our facial features. Dental implants are artificial roots that are placed into the gum, these support the crown or bridge that sits on top, replacing the missing teeth.
Replacing one tooth:
Dental implants are a great treatment when you are missing one tooth. Alternative fixed treatments involve preparing your natural teeth whereas implants are independent units and do not damage your natural teeth. The implant is placed into the bone and a laboratory made crown is fabricated and placed.
Replacing Multiple Missing Teeth:
Dental implants can also be used to support multiple teeth to offer a fixed dental solution and eliminate the need for a patient to have a denture (plate).
Missing all Your Teeth:
If you are missing all of your teeth there are a few options where dental implants can be used.
Multiple dental implants can be used to support a fixed full set of teeth. This eliminates the need for a denture and the implants support the prosthesis completely and so eliminate the need to cover the palate, which greatly improves patient satisfaction. The prosthesis can be removed by your dentist to allow for thorough cleaning as needed. As they are fixed, patients have greater confidence when talking and socialising and there is greater patient satisfaction compared to traditional dentures.
If you have loose dentures, have been missing teeth for a long time and have little bone remaining to help keep your dentures in or struggle to tolerate dentures that cover the roof of your mouth then implants may help. By placing 2-4 dental implants they can be used to support the denture or by placing a bar that helps to support the denture. This has been shown to increase retention by up to 70% and can help to reduce the need for fully coverage with acrylic like traditional dentures. This helps to greatly improve patient satisfaction, and gives the patient confidence when eating and talking with their dentures.
When we lose teeth the jaw bone starts to shrink away, the longer we are missing teeth the more bone that is lost. Dental implants require bone to be placed and to be successful. If you do not have sufficient bone for a dental implant to be placed then your dentist may suggest to you that you require a bone grafting procedure. Your dentist will discuss this with you prior to treatment and explain the procedures involved.