The Uses of Dental Implants
Dental implants have been used successfully for the last 60 years. Implants are like substitute tooth ‘roots’, except they are made from titanium (which is biocompatible) and are carefully placed into jawbone to replace missing teeth.
Dental implants integrate entirely within human bone; living bone grows into the titanium surface to fix them firmly in place. These implants can then be used to support fixed crowns and bridges. They can replace one tooth, up to a whole arch of missing teeth. They can also be used to stabilise a loose or uncomfortable denture.
Replacing a Single Tooth
Replacing a single missing tooth with an implant is a hugely successful procedure here at the Bristol Dental Practice. Treatment is highly conservative as it is not necessary to prepare neighbouring teeth to support bridges, and the implant tooth can be looked after just like your own natural teeth. The implant restoration (crown) itself is usually made with a combination of computer-aided design and 3D manufacturing technologies (in Sweden), and then hand finished by our dental laboratory technicians (in Torquay) to produce a beautiful natural looking final tooth.
Replacing Several Teeth
Groups of missing teeth can be replaced with bridgework supported by dental implants. For example, two implants can support a bridge replacing three – four teeth, with more implants added if the biting forces are particularly heavy, or a larger bridge is required.
Once again, treatment is highly conservative as it is not necessary to prepare natural teeth to support bridgework. The implant construction simply replaces the missing teeth without further compromising any remaining teeth. We use state of art 3D imaging, software simulations and guided surgery to assist with planning and implant positioning.
Implant Retained Dentures
Removable dentures are used as prosthetic replacements for lost teeth, and to provide support to the lips and face when underlying bone has also been lost. Using dental implants to retain dentures offers increased stability, comfort, retention and helps to retain your jawbone, thereby aiding your facial profile.
With assistance from our exceptional denture technicians, we will meticulously construct your new dentures to complement your facial features. Typically, dentures rest on the gums, and hook around remaining teeth. However, dentures will usually adversely affect these neighbouring tissues until eventually more teeth are lost. The jawbone under the gums loses bulk, and the gum type covering the jaw becomes of a poor quality. As these supporting tissues are degraded, the dentures become more unstable and thereby uncomfortable to wear.
Your gums were never ‘designed’ to support dentures. Placing implants to support and retain a denture will offer increased stability, improving comfort, retention, but most importantly helping to retain the jawbone. We believe that providing dental implants to support full dentures should ideally be the standard of care we would like to offer our patients – although when teeth are still present, a partial denture may also be an effective way to replace a few missing teeth.
An important advantage of implant retained dentures is that good oral hygiene is easy to maintain. Brushing and flossing around implants is simple once the denture or bridge has been removed. This may be important where access is problematic, for example where there is a lot of bone loss, or when a patient has limited dexterity.