Replacing teeth and dental implants
Although modern dental treatment and technology has improved in leaps and bounds, many people are out-living their teeth. It is also a fact that accidents happen and individual teeth may have to be lost. Replacement is recommended and not just for aesthetic reasons; missing teeth often cause the surrounding ones to destabilise and work harder.
Options for Tooth Replacement
Deciding on a dental replacement method depends on a range of factors; a few things to consider are budget, which or how many teeth need replacement, and permanence and ease of maintenance.
Dentures provide a good option but they have their own set of issues. They can become loose fitting over time as bone is lost, they can pull down the health of adjacent teeth and affect the enjoyment of foods. Cobalt chrome or ‘slimline dentures are the most comfortable and sustainable for the long term, particularly if there are adjacent teeth to clip to. Acrylic or ‘plastic’ dentures are a good short term measure and usually what full dentures are made of.
Dental implants have a lot to recommend them. They are very long lasting and pretty trouble free. They do not drag down the health of adjacent teeth, are comfortable and you cannot get dental caries or ‘holes’ in them, as with natural teeth. In the right situation and done well, they can be very natural looking. They do however require a lot of components and further training, making them costly. Interestingly though, over their service life, the research indicates they are cheaper than other fixed methods. Since the process of integration’, where the body accepts and joins with the implant takes a few months, ímplants can be slower than other methods of tooth replacement.
Bridges are another method that may be recommended in situations where surgery is to be avoided or where there is no bone. They are fixed, can look good and the process is relatively short but because they involve whittling down neighbouring teeth have a high biological cost. When they do fail, often the neighbouring teeth are lost too. For small gaps at the front there are some bridges when involve no or little ‘whittling down’ of adjacent teeth but these are usually short to medium term solutions.
The Implantation Procedure
Using a scan of your jaws, Dr Krishna Parikh will determine if you would make a good candidate for a dental implant. There are two primary considerations. First, it is important that you do not have any health factors that would preclude proper bone healing.
The second consideration is that your jawbone has sufficient width and depth to serve as a solid foundation for the new tooth. The steps after this involve a process where broken or infected teeth or roots are removed to allow healing to occur. After this the implant is placed. This is often a simple procedure than can be done using a local anaesthetic. In more complicated cases, Dr Parikh does this work under a twilight sedation or as an operation.
In most cases there is healing period of three months after which we make sure the implant has been integrated successfully’. Then any adjacent teeth which need tidying up are fixed and moulds are taken so that our dental laboratory can tailor the new tooth for you.
In most cases you should be prepared to wait from four to six months before you get your new tooth to complete your dental implant. During this time there is often a temporary tooth so that you can still smile during the treatment time.
In short, if you are tired of putting up with loose dentures or missing teeth have a look at dental implant technology; it has certainly been a revolution to many of our patients.