Offering you a strong and natural looking tooth replacement at our Canterbury practice.
It is now widely accepted that the best replacement option when you lose a tooth, is a dental implant. Although dentures and bridges have their place, nothing beats a dental implant for longevity, strength and a natural look and feel.
At Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, we are proud to have become the first accredited Branemark Osseointegration Centre in the UK in 2018 and have many years of experience of this particular procedure.
Dental implants can be used to replace a full arch of missing teeth, a few or several adjoining missing teeth, and, as we will discuss in today’s blog, individual teeth, and it is this that we will focus on today.
Why choose dental implants?
Before we look at the procedure, it is worth considering why our Canterbury patients should choose implants that require an invasive procedure, over dentures that don’t.
There is no doubt that dentures have improved over the years but they can still become loose and unstable. Much of this is due to the mouth and gums changing shape as the jawbone is slowly reabsorbed by the body following tooth loss. When this happens, dentures will not fit as securely as before. There are also potential issues around eating, with many denture wearers eliminating foods that they find difficult to chew. Finally, cleaning dentures can be a fiddly business, and a set of dentures soaking in a glass at the side of the bed is not a pretty sight!
Patients who have dental implants can forget about these issues. You can eat in the knowledge that healthy implants can cope with it and cleaning your implants, although essential, is no harder than cleaning your natural teeth.
Placing an implant
Before an implant can be placed, there is a certain amount of preparation needed. First of all, we will need to examine the mouth for problems such as gum disease and this would need to be treated before the procedure starts. We will also need to x-ray and scan the mouth to make sure that there is sufficient bone into which the implant can be placed. Where there isn’t, we can offer a bone graft or sinus lift to allow the implant procedure to go ahead.
Finally, for smokers and drinkers, it is necessary to abstain from these habits for a period of time before your procedure (and afterwards too) in order to ensure that your mouth is in the best health possible, creating the best environment for the implant to thrive.
To place an implant, we use the scans taken to ensure exact positioning in the jaw. This is important to ensure that it looks natural, is secure and that any nerves in the area are avoided.
An incision is then made into the gums so that a small hole can be made in the jawbone at the correct point. Into this, a titanium implant will be placed. This is either screwed, or tapped into place, to make it secure. This ends the first part of the procedure.
Implant surgery aftercare
Your new implant replaces the root part of the tooth. For this to be effective, it is then necessary to wait for around three months whilst the artificial root fuses, or osseointegrates, with the bone. Once it does this, it will be held extremely securely in place.
Care should be taken during this period to keep the new implant clean. Gum disease and peri-implantitis are a threat to the health of the implant at this stage and later on. We will give you full advice on home care, along with general suggestions such as eating softer foods initially to avoid damage.
Although this three months or so may feel like an inconvenience, it is very important, and once the osseointegration has taken place, you are, in effect, on the ‘home run’. Once we are happy with the implant, your dental crown can then be attached via an abutment and the process is finally complete.
Your new implant will be as strong as your natural teeth, if not stronger. We do advise that you are initially cautious as it may feel a little strange to start with. In just a short time though, you can almost forget your implant, and carry on your life as you would with a natural tooth.
As with your natural teeth, dental implants require long term care. With implants though, all this requires is good brushing and flossing, professional cleans by the hygienist and regular appointments with the dentist. If you do this, there is every chance that your implant could last for twenty years, and possibly many more.
For more information, or to arrange an implant consultation, please call Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic on 01227 463529.