What are Dental Implants?

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are generally considered to be the gold standard when we are considering replacing missing teeth for many reasons:-

  • No preparation and hence destruction of any other teeth so maintaining their longevity
  • Feel as close to having your own tooth as any other treatment does
  • A solid retentive tooth that does not need to be removed
  • Excellent aesthetics can be achieved
  • Possible to replace the teeth in the same day

Dental Implants are not for everyone, though, and a full assessment has to be undertaken before this procedure is carried out.

Niall has been placing implants for many years and has the experience to know which solutions work and it which situations. First he will see you to assess:-

  • The underlying bone level, is there enough of enough quality?
  • The general state of the rest of the dentition
  • Is the gum condition stable?
  • Are any other teeth coming to the end of their life?
  • Your expectations, are they reasonable?
  • Do you understand the surgical procedure and will you be able to cope with the surgery?
  • Will you be able to look after the implant after the surgery and attend for the necessary maintenance?

A dental implant is made of titanium and they are of varying sizes depending on the amount of bone you have available to place it into. During the surgery you will have the area to be worked on numbed just as you would if you were to have a filling. Niall will then peel the gum back and place the dental implant into the bone. You will not feel anything although you will be aware of the work being carried out. The gum is then replaced and some dissolving stitches placed to hold the gum in place.

The whole procedure is quite quick and pain free and you are sent home with full instructions as to how to look after and care for your mouth.

We generally find most patients have minimal discomfort that can be managed with simple painkillers that they would usually have on hand.

Three months later

After three months the bone has grown into the implant, a process we call osseo-integration. It is this process that allows the implant to be firm and to be able to hold a crown that can be used to chew and bite.

Some patients will have had several implants placed to support a larger structure such as a bridge or a denture, the process is similar in all situations.

We uncover the implant at this point, attach a suprastructure to the implant and our dental technician constructs a crown to place onto it.

The implant retained crown will look just like a natural tooth and many struggle to see which tooth is the false one, as we said, this really is the gold standard in tooth replacement.

The months and years ahead

We cannot say how long a dental implant will remain in place, some studies quote 95% success rates but we do know they can fail. Changes in your medical status and health can have an effect on your dentition and subsequently also on a dental implant.

We do know, however, that for maximum longevity you will need close care and maintenance of the implant and we recommend a good home maintenance programme followed up by regularly visits to our dental hygienists. This way if anything is changing it can be addressed quickly.

If you would like to know more about these treatments please get in touch.

Niall Hutchinson
Principal Dental Surgeon
Cherrytree Dental Care