If you are totally happy wearing dentures, dental implants are not for you. Some people are lucky as they are happy with how their dentures or gaps look, are able to eat anything they like without discomfort or embarrassment.
Naturally, the effect of tooth loss varies from person to person. Without the tooth, the bone around the lost tooth gradually recedes (as it is no longer required to support the tooth), often remaining teeth shift, chewing becomes difficult, lips and cheeks lose support and often appear sunken with time.
Dental implants are restorations whereby a titanium screw is placed into the jaw bone to replace a missing tooth root, and then a crown is placed on top. In the case of multiple missing teeth, more than one implant can be placed, and multiple crowns or a bridge put on top.
Dental implants provide a solution for one or many missing teeth and once again, you will be able to smile widely and enjoy whatever food you desire. A dental implant with a crown is the only way to replace a missing tooth that will then look, feel and function like your natural tooth.
Why is a titanium screw put into the jawbone?
Titanium is an extremely biological friendly material, i.e. gum and bone bond well to this. Once placed in the jaw bone it becomes a permanent replacement for the missing tooth’s root structure.
Dental implants are an ideal tooth replacement option for many patients. They offer a unique advantage over fixed bridges in that they are freestanding, so their placement does not affect adjacent teeth in any way.
What if there is not enough bone?
Successful implant placement does require a certain amount of bone. In the absence of sufficient bone, grafting procedures are usually possible. In very rare cases, a lack of bone can make implant placement impossible.
Does the procedure hurt?
Local anaesthesia or sedation ensures that the implant placement procedure is pain-free. Post-operative discomfort is usually minor and can be managed with oral painkillers.
How many dental visits are required?
The number of dental visits required, and the timeframe of treatment often depends on the circumstances of the case. Simple cases can be completed quickly in two visits over a few months, whereas more complex cases can require a number of appointments over many months.
How long do implant-retained crowns last?
With good care and regular dental visits the lifespan of an implant-retained crown is usually at least 15 years. Eventually, the overlying crown may need to be replaced because of wear at some point; however, the implanted titanium screw can be used over and over again.
What are the benefits of implant-retained crowns?
Improved comfort - continuous shrinkage of the jaw bone alters the fit of the denture resulting in slipping or rocking of the dentures which causes irritation of the gum tissue. Implant-retained crowns are like natural teeth because they are part of your jaw. Gum irritation and the pain of exposed nerves associated with conventional dentures are eliminated.
Improved Speech - with ill-fitting dentures, the teeth slip and slide around the mouth and the facial muscles become tense in an attempt to hold the teeth in place. This often results in mumbling, slurred speech or clicking noises. Implant-retained crowns allow you to speak with confidence in a relaxed and natural tone.
Ability to Eat - The average denture patient with an excellent fitting denture eats at 15-20% efficiency when compared to a person with natural teeth. As the jawbone shrinks, your chewing efficiency is reduced even more, making it difficult to eat certain foods. Dental implants, on the other hand, can restore chewing efficiency comparable to that of natural teeth. This allows you to eat your favourite foods with confidence and without pain. You can enjoy what everyone is eating and you don't have to think twice about it.
Improved self-esteem - Many patients that hide their toothless state from their partners due to embarrassment. Dental implants can provide you with new teeth that are like your own, and you will never be seen toothless again. All our patients that have had dental implants would never go back to having a denture, and wished they had their implant treatment a long time ago, as they regained the function of their natural teeth, giving them confidence eating, talking and smiling, and doing all the things everyone else is doing and not think twice about it.