this is page about dental implants
dental implants overview
A dental implant is a small titanium screw which is placed into the bone where a tooth is missing to provide the most stable and long-lasting platform for the replacement of the missing teeth. Titanium dental implants were first used thirty years ago. Over that period of time there has been an extensive amount of research to show that they work extremely effectively and reliably, and are the best possible replacement for missing teeth..
The main component is the titanium implant itself. This resembles a precisely manufactured screw with a specially roughened surface which makes it very compatible with bone. The implant is about the same size as the root of a natural tooth. It is placed into the bone and left to integrate for 6-8 weeks. By this time it is rock-solid in the bone. There are no problems with the integration of the implant into the bone, because titanium is one of the few materials that can perform osseointegration, whereby the implant is accepted into the bone which fuses around it. Once the implant is solid in the bone, the second part, a special titanium post connector can be fitted into the implant. This is called an "abutment". The abutment allows the fixation of the final part of the implant Ð the crown (a replacement tooth). The crown is usually cemented in place - just like a natural tooth crown. The porcelain on the crown is custom made to match the colour of the rest of your teeth, so that the implant is imperceptible from natural teeth.
Dentures If you have missing teeth, or are about to loose teeth, then filling the gaps can be achieved with a denture, bridge or implants. To some, dentures are a bit old fashioned, perhaps something that their grandparents might have worn, and they involve the hassle of removal and cleaning. Sometimes dentures, in addition to the plate, have unsightly clasps to help hold them in place.
Bridges Most fixed bridge involve preparing teeth each side of the gap to support the bridge. Once the teeth are prepped then it cannot be reversed. It is a shame to sacrifice some good tooth structure to replace a missing tooth elsewhere.
Implants A major disadvantage with both dentures and bridges is that they fail to preserve the underlying bone and gum around the extracted teeth sites. The gum will continue to shrink throughout life, giving an aging effect. Dental implants, on the other hand, feel just like normal teeth, do not involve the cutting of adjacent teeth, are a much more permanent solution, and help prevent the aging effect.
We believe implants to be the best possible solution available today for missing teeth. To have a functioning set of teeth will greatly improve your quality of life; not only will you be able to eat normally, but you can also look great. A full set of teeth gives shape and support to your whole face, unfortunately when teeth are lost, the gum and jaw bones shrink, giving rise to a premature aging effect. Dental implants are small titanium screws, about the size of the roots of your own teeth, once placed into the space left by a missing tooth the jaw bone will stabilize and integrate with the implant, ensuring that the shape of your jaw bone will be preserved and stopping the aging effect. Implants are the closest thing to natural teeth any surgeon or technician can offer today. Implants are incredibly strong which means that you can bite and chew with an implant just as well as with natural teeth, even hard foods like whole apples and raw carrots! Implants are versatile, a combination of one or more implants can be used to restore anyone's smile to brilliance. They are extremely long-lasting, and will enable you to live life as though you had a mouthful of natural teeth.
a selection of before and after images
frequently asked question about dental implants
How long have dental implants been in the UK
Although modern Implantology began in Sweden in the late 60's, popularity really grew throughout the UK in the 1980's. Richard Gatenby has been placing implants for more than 20 years, and over that period has performed more than 1500 successful procedures!
Am I too old for dental implants?
No. Any person at any age can have dental implants as long as there is enough bone available in which to place the dental implants. If there is not enough bone, extra bone can often be grafted.
What are the benefits of dental implants
Your new dental implant will look and feel like natural teeth. With dental implants you will have more confidence to smile and even be able to bite an apple! Dental implants can replace a removable denture with fixed teeth. Dental implants stop your gums and bone from shrinking which reduces the aging effect caused by losing teeth.
Will I be left without teeth during treatment?
We understand it can be embarrassing for patients to be without their teeth. During the treatment we will ensure that you will always smile confidently and that nobody will know you have a gap..
Is dental implant surgery painful?
We work closely with our patients to ensure that they feel no discomfort during the placement of their dental implant. This is through using an effective local anaesthetic and post-operatively the use of effective painkillers ensures that our patients remain comfortable throughout. We also offer sedation for those patients who would prefer it.
How long does the treatment take?
Each case has to be assessed on an individual basis. For 'routine' cases treatment time can be only ten weeks. More complex cases can take longer. For instance, when there is sufficient bone, treatment time is shorter and when there is insufficient bone, treatment time can be increased if a graft is needed. Your specific needs and a treatment schedule will be explained to you following your consultation.
Can dental implants preserve bone?
Yes, they can, and once dental implants have been placed the bone can even become stronger.
Would I need to do anything prior to implant treatment?
Yes. As part of our consultation we will screen your gums and bone for any infections. Prior to implant placement your remaining teeth and gums need to be healthy.
What if I am nervous about the treatment?
Some of our patients prefer to have the dental implants placed under sedation. A sedative can be carefully administered to relax you during the treatment, and ensure that you remember nothing about it afterwards.
How often will I need to have my dental implants checked?
It is essential that you continue to see your own dentist and your hygienist for your regular check-ups. Clinical studies have shown that a yearly review with your implantologist is desirable for the longevity of your implants.