By Wensleydale Dental • • Comments Off on Introducing Dental Implants
Dental implants are most often used to replace missing teeth, but they can also be used to support dentures – vastly improving their stability and giving the patient a better feel and bite when eating.
Multiple dental implants are now being used to secure fixed bridges or dentures which can be used to replace an entire arch of teeth. This means that even patients who are missing all their teeth can once again have a strong bite and an attractive smile.
Humans have been trying to develop the perfect dental implant for thousands of years… Remains from ancient China show carved bamboo pegs tapped into the bone to replace lost teeth. And the Mayans used to hammer tooth-shaped fragments of shell into the gums to act as dental implants…
Fortunately, things have moved on a lot since then and modern dental implants are typically made of titanium (the same material used to make space shuttles and guided missiles!)
The strength of these materials means that implants typically outlast other tooth replacement options. For example, dental bridges can only last as long as the teeth on either side, so if one of them is damaged – or decays – the bridge will need to be replaced.
And even dentures can become worn or damaged or need to be replaced when the mouth changes shape as we age.
But because dental implants are made of such strong materials and therefore can’t decay, they could very well last you for the rest of your life. The only thing dental implant patients need to do is to take care of their new teeth the same way they’d look after their natural ones – by brushing twice a day in order to keep the gums healthy and prevent inflammation.
Dental implants consist of three parts: a titanium post or screw that is secured within the jaw bone, a tooth-shaped crown, and an “abutment” that joins the two other pieces together.
Once in place, dental implants look and function just like real teeth – so only you and your dentist will know you have them!
Around 10,000 dental implants are fitted in the UK each year, the majority of them in people over 65.
Yet because dental implants can be fitted whenever a tooth is extracted, damaged or knocked out, there are a significant number of young and middle-aged people who’ve had dental implants fitted after losing teeth while playing sports, as a result of accidents or due to poor health.
Age is less important when considering implants than your general health. For example, some illnesses such as diabetes can cause complications with healing after surgery, and patients who smoke or who already have gum disease may find their bone and gum tissue too weak to support implants…
However, even where patients lack enough bone for an implant, modern techniques such as bone grafts can often replace the missing bone and make it possible for an implant to be fitted.
If you’d like to find out more about dental implants and whether they could help improve the quality of your life, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to give you all the information you need, answer any questions you have, and then leave you to decide whether you’d like to proceed.