Dental Implants | Dental Treatment Guide

Dental treatments are becoming more varied and complex so it is important that people are able to access the relevant information about this so that they can make informed decisions about these procedures. Dental implants are a popular treatment for missing teeth but they are not necessarily an appropriate remedy for everyone.

Why might I need dental implants?

In most cases the need for dental implants can be categorised into 4 groups:

  1. As an alternative option to partial dentures and bridges
  2. To help keep existing dentures fixed in place
  3. Repair a shrunken jawbone that can be caused by lost teeth
  4. As a support for a bridge so that healthy teeth are not put at risk

In order to be recommended to have dental implants you must have a strong jawbone, healthy gums and overall good dental health. They are unlikely to be effective for smokers as they tend to have poor dental health due to the influence of tobacco.

Dental implants tend to have a high success rate and they can last for several years. In order to maintain good results it is necessary to follow a good pattern of oral hygiene and to spend more time on brushing and flossing your teeth.

The procedure

Dental implants are used to hold a bridge, denture or crown in place and the actual implant is affixed to the jawbone. The implant tends to be a titanium rod which acts like a tooth root to hold the implant in place.

The treatment works by a small hole being drilled into the jaw where the implant can be slotted in. The metal rod is inserted and then this is able to become fused with the jawbone. Part of the rod is left exposed which allows the denture or bridge to then be attached to it.

The implant will take place over 4 stages:

  1. Consultation
    This is to assess your suitability for the procedure and it may be necessary to take an x-ray. This is to evaluate the condition of your teeth and jaws. An impression will be created of your teeth so implants can be made that match.
  2. Procedure
    It is most common to have the procedure done in separate stages. During the initial stage the implant will be inserted into the jawbone. At the next stage the bridge or denture is then firmly attached to the implant. There are 2 types of implant, a cylinder or a screw.
  3. Integration
    The jaw and gum are given time to heal which is often around 3 months. This allows the jawbone and the implant to become secure
  4. Healing
    During this stage you will regularly see the dentist for check-ups to ensure that the implant is firmly secured. Some side effects may be experienced such as swelling or pain in the area of the mouth where the implant has been fixed. To help with the healing process and to protect the gum and implant your dentist may give you a temporary denture or bridge.

Further Information about Dental Implants