Dental implants offer an artificial replacement for a tooth’s root and provide an alternative to removable dentures or a bridge. The dental implant procedure works by fitting an implant directly into your jawbone to provide support for an artificial tooth. Once the new tooth or teeth are fitted they require very little maintenance (compared to removable dentures) and will feel just like the rest of your natural teeth.
If you have lost or missing teeth, or if your denture is poorly fitting and uncomfortable, you might be better with a dental implant.
Your dentist will be able to advise you if you are suitable for dental implants. They will take xrays of your jawbone to determine the best place for your implants. They will also look at the structure of your face to determine if you are suitable.
Some dental surgeons will not place dental implants in patients with certain lifestyle and health considerations. If you smoke or if you have osteoporosis, the procedure is much more complicated, so only your dental surgeon will be able to advise you.
A titanium root is placed in the gum and acts as a replacement for the tooth root. This artificial root then hold an abutment in place with an internal screw. A porcelain tooth is then attached to the abutment resulting in a natural feeling tooth that is very low maintenance.
The process starts with your dental surgeon who will take X-rays of your jaw to determine your suitability. If this doesn’t tell them everything they need to know, you may be sent for a CT scan. The actual procedure takes place in several parts, which may be done all at once, or over the space of several months. Again, the individual treatment procedure will depend entirely on the patient.
Fitting the implant usually takes around 30 minutes and will be carried out under general anaesthetic so you won’t feel any pain. The process requires making a cut in your gum and drilling a small hole in your jawbone. They will then either fit the implant on the same day, fit it after a few weeks, or some may require a longer healing process of a few months before they can fit the implant.
Your dentist will then add the abutment, which attaches to the internal screw of the dental implant. This may take place on the same day or in a second or third procedure – each treatment plan varies by patient. And finally, your dentist will create a porcelain tooth that attaches to the abutment.
We are very lucky to work with Richard Brookshaw who is a highly skilled implant surgeon. He has placed over 5000 implants and counting and is one of the few surgeons in the UK experienced in placing implants in patients requiring a bone graft or sinus lift.