This fast and (almost) permanent solution to missing teeth offers many benefits.
First of all, we should probably clarify why we included ‘almost’ in the title of this blog post. Dental implants, when looked after correctly, have a very long life expectancy, and can be expected to last for a minimum of 15 years.
The reality though, is that they often last much longer than that, and in fact, the second person ever to have dental implants placed, still had them 48 years later!
Their ‘survival’ rate will depend on a number of factors and although they can last for a very long time indeed, it would be technically incorrect to call them ‘permanent’, although for practical purposes, they are.
From the above, patients of the Confidental Clinic should be able to see that they are, at the very least, a practical and sustainable alternative to dentures. Whether used for replacing a single tooth, or for multiple missing tooth replacement, dental implants offer an excellent long lasting option.
Individual tooth replacement
We won’t delve too deeply into this subject here as we have covered this a few times in previous blogs. The process for an individual implant is, in some ways, quite different to that where multiple teeth need replacing. An individual implant usually needs time to fully integrate with the jaw bone before a crown can be attached, but this does not have to be the case where multiple teeth, or a full arch, are to be replaced.
All on 4
This is the name often given to the procedure that can be used where multiple teeth have been lost. It is more specifically used where a full arch of teeth need replacing. Whilst it is a complex procedure, it can sometimes be carried out in just one day, with the patients leaving our Clapham practice with a new set of teeth.
Rather than use an individual implant for each tooth that is missing, a set of usually four, but sometimes six, implants are strategically placed into the jawbone, and a fixed bridge then attached to those. Unlike individual implants, these do not have to bond with the bone before you can use them, although it is advisable to eat softer foods for a while to allow them to settle in with the minimum of discomfort.
Preparing for your procedure
Before any implants can be placed, it is important that you are assessed to make sure you are a suitable patient. This is done at our Clapham dental clinic, where CT scans are taken to assess the quality and quantity of the bone available to place the implants into. We also perform a thorough oral health check to make sure that there are no current issues which may compromise the success of the treatment, such as the presence of gum disease. Any problems such as this will need to be treated prior to the implant procedure.
On the day
Each row of missing teeth that needs to be replaced will usually take between two and four hours. The procedure can be performed using just a local anaesthetic, or with the additional help of our services for nervous patients. Even non anxious patients may benefit from this, given the fact that it is a longer treatment that you may be accustomed to. Each implant will be placed into the jawbone, using modern computerised equipment to ensure accurate placing. Two implants are placed towards the front of the mouth, whilst two more are placed at the rear. It is these specially designed rear implants that allow us to complete the procedure in a single day. Unlike traditional implants, they are made to be placed at an angle into the jawbone, and this gives them the instant stability that would otherwise be lacking.
Once your new implants are in place, your dental bridge will be attached to them, enabling you to go home the same day with a new set of teeth. The next few months will allow you, in consultation with us, to adjust the colour and positioning of the teeth, until you are finally happy with your brand new smile.
After the procedure
As mentioned earlier, it is advisable not to eat harder foods initially as doing so may lead to some soreness in the area of the procedure. Softer foods put less stress on the new implants too and will help the osseointegration (bonding with the jaw) to take place more easily. It is important that you look after your new implants in order to avoid diseases, such as periodontitis and peri-implantitis, that could potentially cause them to fail. Our implant team will offer full advice on this at the time of your procedure.
Whilst we understand that some people may prefer to use dentures when they have lost their teeth, more and more patients are turning to dental implants, and for very good reasons. They offer a level of strength and stability that even the best dentures can’t match. Whilst it does involve an invasive procedure, this only has to be performed once to give you replacement teeth that could last for twenty years or more with good care.
If you would like to find out more about either individual or multiple tooth replacement options that are available at the Confidental Clinic, please call us for an initial consultation on 020 7801 9060.