The Perfect Guide to Dental Implants
There are lots of different treatments available to replace missing teeth and fill any gaps in the teeth, but how do you know which one is right for you? At Dental Excellence, our dentists and specialist implantologists are highly experienced in creating amazing, long-lasting and natural-looking results from dental implant treatments, helping our patients get their smiles back for good!
What Are Dental Implants?
At the most basic level, dental implants are small, medical-grade titanium screws which go into your jaw to replicate the root of a natural tooth. Then, a dental crown is placed on top to emulate the appearance of your natural teeth and fill any gaps.
Dental implants are a well-documented treatment and have been around in a form that is very similar to the way they are today since the start of the 20th century. Of course, since then there have been extensive and significant developments in implant dentistry to further improve the safety and efficacy of dental implants, such as improved materials and small changes to standard implant design that makes them easier and more comfortable to fit, safer for patients and more durable over long periods of time, but the principle of the treatment is still much the same!
Dental implants work so well as the screws actually fuse with the jawbone over time to secure them and prevent them from moving around. This gives you the most reliable and long-lasting method for tooth replacement treatments. There is no need to have your implants adjusted or replaced every few years as is the case with other tooth replacement treatments, as the dental implant seamlessly integrates with the rest of your natural teeth and moves along with the rest of them as your mouth changes over time. You can get single dental implants, implants for multiple teeth that are missing, or “all on 4” implants where your full arch needs to be replaced.
Why You May Need a Dental Implant
If you have missing teeth or teeth that need to be removed, you may be a good candidate for dental implant treatment. An infected tooth or tooth that is decaying often needs to be removed and replaced with a dental implant or other tooth replacement. Teeth can be removed for a whole host of other reasons too, such as tooth crowding, or wisdom teeth that haven’t come in properly, though these teeth generally don’t need to be replaced as the other teeth will move to fill the gap.
However, if you do have missing teeth or teeth that need to be replaced, it’s important to get it done as soon as possible. Missing teeth, aside from making many people feel self-conscious about their smiles, can lead to lots of other dental problems and general health issues. For example, you’re more likely to get a cut or infection in the area of gum that the missing tooth has exposed, and you’re also more likely to experience a build-up of tartar as it becomes difficult to brush your teeth properly around the gap. You can also experience changes to your speech as a result of missing teeth, find it difficult to eat certain types of food, and the teeth around the gap may become misaligned over time.
If you have teeth that need to be removed or replaced and don’t like the idea of removable tooth replacements like dentures or bridges, or want to invest in a solution that is long-lasting, low maintenance and completely natural-looking, dental implants may be the perfect option for you.
How Long Does it Take to Restore Teeth With Dental Implants?
One of the disadvantages of dental implants is that they have a fairly lengthy treatment process, from start to finish. They also take quite a few different appointments, and often have long gaps between appointments to give the implants time to settle and to fuse with the jawbone. Usually, patients will have to wait from three to six months from when the implants are first fitted until your permanent replacement teeth are fitted. This is so important as it allows the time the implants need to fix to the jawbone securely and move as the rest of the teeth do, to fit your mouth perfectly, and ensure your implants remain safe, comfortable, effective and healthy long after you’ve left the clinic. At Dental Excellence, we can usually give you same day temporary tooth replacements so that you can feel confident about your smile even while undergoing dental implant treatment.
The exact length of time you’ll need between appointments varies massively from person to person, depending on your overall dental health, the number of implants you require and many other factors. Your dentist should be able to advise you based on your own personal circumstances. This extended treatment process can be frustrating for some dental implant patients, so it’s important you are confident about your treatment and committed to the process before making that first appointment.
How Long Can I Expect Dental Implants to Last?
One of the major advantages of dental implants is that they are incredibly long-lasting. As implants are made of metal and fused together with your jawbone over time in a process known as osseointegration, they won’t move, get lost, get dirty or break. In fact, with proper care, good dental hygiene and sensible practices, most patients find that their dental implants last for at least 15+ years without any need for additional dental treatments related to their implants.
While dental implants are expensive, due to the time-intensive nature of the treatment, and the fact that a lot of highly specialised expertise is required from your dentist or implantologist, the fact that they last so long and so well without any extra care or ongoing costs means that they are an excellent long-term investment to give you a strong, healthy, beautiful smile for many years to come!
Alternatives to Dental Implants
One of the most prevalent and well-known tooth replacements and an alternative treatment to dental implants are dentures. Dentures are very common because as opposed to a procedure like dental implants, they do not require a lot of invasive dental work. This also means that since they take less specialist time, they are significantly less costly than dental implants. To replace missing teeth, dentures can be made from plastic, nylon or metal and fit neatly over the gums to fill gaps in the teeth. They are available in either full sets replacing all of your teeth, or partial sets replacing only one tooth or a few different teeth. After five to seven years, they need to be replaced as the shape of your mouth changes over time. They also usually need special care and treatment that your dentist will tell you all about.
Another common form of tooth replacement is dental bridges, and which are mostly used to fill gaps with two healthy teeth on either side. Dental bridges include putting a new tooth in place that is attached to the teeth on either side. This can be accomplished in many different ways, depending on the condition of the surrounding teeth and the preferences of the patient and their dentist. Depending on the kind of bridge you get and the condition of the surrounding teeth, dental bridges to replace missing teeth will last from about eight to fifteen years. Dental bridges are a popular treatment option as they seamlessly fit in with your natural teeth and do not need separate treatment from the rest of your teeth in the long run.
The Benefits of Implants
There are lots of different advantages to dental implant treatments, which is why they are so popular as a long-lasting tooth replacement.
Dental implants are very long-lasting, particularly when compared to dentures and dental bridges. With proper care, your dental implants can easily last for 15 - 20 plus years, and many patients never need to have them replaced.
They also don’t need much in the way of special care. Dentures require separate maintenance routines and products, whereas dental bridges and dental implants don’t require any extra care to the rest of your teeth! Simply brushing twice a day, going for regular checkups and hygiene appointments, and using floss and/or mouthwash as recommended by your dentist is all of the maintenance your dental implants will need for many years to come.
The beautiful results that dental implants can create can’t be understated. While missing teeth can cause patients to feel self-conscious about their smile, dental implants are a way to help give them back their confidence and make them feel like their old self. Dental implants give you a smile that looks and feels exactly like your natural teeth, so the idea of hiding your smile never even crosses your mind!
To learn more about Dental Excellence and our treatments, find out whether dental implants are right for you, or to book your consultation with our experienced team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!