One or more teeth may be lost for lots of reasons - decay, gum disease or sometimes after an accident. For many this can lead to feelings of selfconsciousness. Missing teeth may also make chewing food more difficult and the spaces around teeth can be a trap for plaque and food debris, increasing risk of decay and gum disease.
Implants are the latest way to replace missing teeth, literally by building a new tooth and root. An implant can be used as a single root or a number can be placed where there are more teeth missing. So strong, tooth like and long lasting are the restorations, that implants have been described as the next best thing to a natural tooth.
At the first consultation your dentist will make a thorough assessment to ensure that this type of treatment is really suitable for you. Most people are suitable, but individuals have to be a minimum age of 18 years old and teeth to have stopped growing. Treatments start with the placing of the implant with a simple operation that reaches into the jawbone. This is then left undisturbed for about 3 - 6 months by which time the titanium fuses (Osseointegration) into the bone much like a natural root of a tooth is lodged in the bone.
Implants are long lasting and look great, they won't damage the adjacent teeth and do not require removal of large amounts of tooth tissue. Implanted teeth are stronger than than natural teeth and many patients report the renewed ability to eat all sorts of foods.
”Losing one or more of your teeth can cause a gap in your smile, the loss of chewing function and the inability to eat a complete diet. While these are certainly serious issues, a potentially bigger problem lies hidden beneath the surface: bone loss.
Without the tooth to stimulate the jaw, the bone beneath it will begin to shrink (atrophy) in the same manner that muscle underneath a cast gets smaller. Since your facial bone supports the skin and muscles on top of it, losing volume can cause your face to look prematurely aged. The good news is that dental implants offer a solution to stop bone loss."
Untreated missing tooth
Traditional Crown and Bridge
Implant with a Crown
Conventional treatment options for tooth replacement, Crown & Bridge and full or partial dentures, address the short-term cosmetic problem of the missing teeth, but do nothing to stop the bone loss. Crown & Bridge also requires that two or more healthy teeth be ground down to serve as abutments (anchors) for a bridge, leaving them at a much greater risk for cavities and endodontic failure.
With implants, however, the healthy teeth are not compromised. Plus, dental implants, like natural teeth, transmit chewing forces to the jaw, stimulating it and halting the bone loss. This is why many leading dental organizations recognize dental implants as the standard of care for tooth replacement."
“Courtesy of BioHorizons”