Multiple implants can be used in cases when several or all teeth have been lost due to a number of reasons.
If you have been unfortunate enough to have lost a tooth then you will know it is not particularly nice experience. Tooth loss happens for a variety of reasons from things like tooth decay, gum disease or accidental loss through some form of trauma. There are a variety of techniques to replace missing teeth including implants, dentists and dental bridges - this website is dedicated to helping you find out more about deciding to replace missing teeth with dental implants for people that live in the Somerset, Devon and Dorset region of the south-west.
Our Dental implant dentist, Dr Zaki Kanaan has appeared on Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies and is their dentist of choice in any cases needing implant restorations.
Why replace missing teeth?
If you have missing teeth you may have noticed that your facial contours change. The hollow facial look is caused because teeth are missing and the soft tissue of the cheeks tend to collapse into this gap, this is just one reason to consider replacing missing teeth.
From a health point of view replacing missing teeth is also important. When a tooth is lost the opposing tooth on either side will have a tendency to drift. The image to the right shows this tooth movement and you can see that the space where the tooth was lost is reduced. This reduction in space and the taping of the adjacent teeth can mean that replacement of the missing tooth at a later date becomes far more difficult, and in some cases impossible.
From a cosmetic point of view, apart from the obvious gap, you can see that the opposing tooth can also have a tendency to drift. Notice the gum line on this opposing tooth, notice how the gum architecture and smooth flow of the gum margins is interrupted due to the tooth drifting. This is an often unexpected problem for patients with missing teeth..
Why dental implants?
With dental bridges there is often a requirement to reduce the adjacent teeth to make space for the support structures for the replacement tooth. If the teeth either side of the missing tooth are otherwise healthy it is certainly not desirable to have to remove healthy tooth structure. This desire to maintain as much of your natural tooth as possible means that dental implants are also a more conservative option as there is no need to damage teeth either side of the gap.
Multiple implants can be used in cases when several or all teeth have been lost due to a number of reasons. A single dental implant is used for a single missing tooth, but that does not necessarily mean that every tooth will have a corresponding implant placed. For example – an entire jaw of missing teeth can be replaced with as little as five or six implants, which will then be attached to a bridge or denture.
Dental implants are also often preferred as they support the bone around the area that tooth has been lost. When a tooth is removed it inevitably leaves a hole in the bone, known as a socket. The way the body fills this hole is for the surrounding bone to collapse in. As the bone collapses in it has the effect of reducing the amount of bone in that area.
This bone loss can have a cosmetic impact as it tends to make the teeth on a dental bridge look rather long. It can also mean that placing a dental implant in the future could be more difficult as then is not enough support bone to hold the implant itself.
Dental implants help to prevent this whole process happening by supporting the bone in the area of the tooth loss.
A dental implant is the modern way to replace missing teeth, they are made from high strength medical grade titanium which the body does not recognise as a foreign object, this means the detaining dental implant will fully integrate into the surrounding bone, this process is known as osseointegration. Once the dental implant is placed the restorative phase can begin which involves either the placement of a dental crown or bridge over the top of the implant or a denture to replace multiple missing teeth which clips onto the dental implant.
If you have missing tooth or teeth and are generally in good health then you are more than likely suitable for implants. If you smoke then you ought to consider cutting down or stopping altogether as this can happen adverse affect on the healing process. Sometimes, people do not have enough bone in which to place the dental implant (see our comments above about bone loss). If this is the case then you may require bone grafting in order to rebuild the bone in this area.
Dental implants have success rate in excess of 95% over 15 years meaning they have a great deal of history and are a well-established treatment. It is, unfortunately, not possible to absolutely guarantee the success rate of implants, in fact, it is not possible to guarantee the success rate of any medical treatment. So long as you look after your dental implant and the surrounding natural teeth and it should last many years. It's worth noting that dental implants are as susceptible to dental disease as your natural teeth. If you were to develop gum disease (gingivitis) and it wasn't well looked after it could turn into the more severe periodontitis. This is when the surrounding bone also becomes affected. Dental implants will be affected also with something that is known as peri-implantitis.
Over the years, there will be a need to maintain the implants with correct hygiene and check-up appointments. Very occasionally, crowns, bridges or dentures on the implants may need repairing or replacement.
The actual dental implant process is broken down into the following stages:
if you smoke it is an important consideration. Smokers don't heal as efficiently as non-smokers and may be more likely to experience loosening of the dental implant. If you can significantly cut down or even stop smoking you will greatly increase your chance of successful dental implant treatment.
The placement of dental implants is normally fairly comfortable. You will be offered a topical gel which is placed on the gum before any injections are given, this makes the local anaesthetic far more comfortable. Modern injection technique and equipment also means that the whole process is relatively pain-free. You may experience discomfort after the placement of the dental implant as the nerves around the area come back to life. This is normally treated quite adequately with over-the-counter painkillers.