People can lose teeth because of dental disease or trauma, and even losing a single tooth can negatively affect oral health. Dental implants are the most advanced way to restore missing teeth. Implant treatment is a long-lasting solution for tooth loss, restoring teeth in a way that looks and feels natural and which can help protect oral health. Implants also prevent further bone loss in the affected area.
When designing dental implant teeth, we take enormous care, making sure they are fully functional, provide good biting and chewing strength, and of course, that they look and feel good. Implant crowns and bridges can be made from high-quality ceramic materials, while implant dentures are created using the best quality dental porcelain teeth.
A dental implant is designed to replace a tooth, including the tooth root artificially. Usually, it has three components: the implant post or screw, the abutment, and the replacement tooth. The implant post is surgically inserted into the jawbone, closely replicating a real tooth root. Once inserted, the implant soon bonds with the bone around it during a process called Osseointegration.
After several months, the implant is firmly fused in place and ready for restoration. During this part of the process, an abutment is attached to the post, supporting the replacement tooth. There are different types of abutments, depending on the type of restoration required. Dental implants can be excellent for replacing single missing teeth or supporting a dental bridge. People with dentures will often benefit from implant treatment to stabilise them.
Implant treatment is suitable for most people with good dental and medical health. When you visit Smile Inn, we can carefully assess your suitability, examine your mouth, and review your medical history. It’s very unlikely that you cannot have dental implants, but we can recommend a suitable alternative if this is the case. Age is not a barrier for treatment provided your teeth and jaws have finished growing and developing. Implants have helped many older people who may find dentures uncomfortable to wear.
If you are suitable for dental implants, we use computer image-guided surgery to plan and place them.
Precise implant placement is essential for treatment success, and image-guided surgery ensures we insert each dental implant into an optimal position. The process allows us to make sure that your implant teeth can function correctly and look good. Image-guided surgery also helps ensure implant placement is quicker and smoother and more comfortable for our patients.
Computer image-guided surgery uses a cone beam CT scan, providing our implant dentist with a detailed 3-D image of your jaws and existing teeth. The image allows us to assess your jawbone's quantity and quality and ensure each implant is correctly inserted while avoiding important structures like nerves. We can view these images from any angle, checking that the restored implant provides good functionality and excellent aesthetic results.
Once we have planned your implant surgery, the plan is transferred onto a surgical guide, a sophisticated template used during surgery. The surgical guide ensures that we replicate the implant plan precisely, so each implant is inserted to exactly the right depth and angulation. Knowing exactly where each implant is to be placed helps ensure the procedure is faster and that afterwards, healing is quicker and more comfortable.
It can take as little as an hour to place a single dental implant, and we make sure you receive a local anaesthetic to keep you comfortable during treatment. Once your dental implants are in place, we can make your restorative implants. Your restorative implants could be a dental crown, an implant bridge or implant-supported denture.
A single dental implant is a wonderful way to replace a single missing tooth. Unlike a conventional bridge that uses the adjacent teeth for support, a dental implant is self-supporting. Bone resorption naturally occurs when you lose a tooth, but an implant post prevents this from happening. The dental implant protects the adjacent teeth, preventing unwanted tooth movements and sharing the pressure created as you bite and chew food. The implant crown is fitted onto the abutment and will look like it is emerging from your gums, just like your real teeth.
If you have a gap created by several missing teeth that were originally side by side, one option is to have an implant-supported bridge. You don’t need to replace every missing tooth with a dental implant, and we can support a large span bridge using relatively few implants.
The implant bridge fits over the abutments attached to the implant posts. It is either screwed or cemented in place, and the bridge remains firmly in place unless removed by a dentist. Screwing a bridge onto the implants is sometimes preferable as we can easily retrieve the bridge if needed for cleaning and maintenance. The screw holes are covered with tooth coloured composite resin.
Implant-supported dentures are removable but clip firmly onto dental implants or a bar fitted over the implants. Once in the mouth, the implant denture feels very strong and stable and makes it easier to comfortably eat a greater range of foods. There is no fear that the denture will rub painfully on the gums or move embarrassingly during social events and no need to use denture adhesive.
While it may seem preferable to have a fixed dental appliance, some people find an implant-supported denture easier to care for, and it can provide excellent results. Also, relatively few dental implants are needed to support a full denture, which can be a more cost-effective option.
Dental implant teeth are easy to care for, and we will make sure you know exactly how to clean around your dental implants thoroughly. It is important to care for them properly because while the implants may be made from inert materials, they are surrounded by living tissue that could otherwise become infected. In addition to cleaning your implant teeth regularly, you must continue to come and see us for dental checkups and professional dental cleanings, even if you have lost all your natural teeth. We can check the condition of your implant teeth, and use specialised tools to clean around dental implants. Also, we can check your oral tissues during these appointments to ensure they remain healthy.