Monday, 23 April 2012

Dental implants - why you should consider them

With a number of less expensive treatments for missing teeth, why should you consider dental implants?

If you have one or more teeth missing, there are a number of possible strategies you can adopt:
  • Do nothing and leave the gap as it is
  • Wear a denture
  • Have a bridge fitted
  • Have a dental implant
When teeth are lost, there are two potential problems to be aware of.  Firstly, the opposing teeth can grow up/down as there is nothing to stop them and secondly, the bone surrounding the extraction site can recede.  By doing nothing, both of these are risks and, whilst preventing growth of the opposing teeth, dentures & bridges will not prevent bone recession.

A dental implant is, in essence, an artificial tooth root onto which a crown or bridge can be attached.  Implants can also support removable dentures and, used in this way, they give the advantages of firm fixing and avoidance of much of the platework which is a feature of traditional dentures. 

Implant treatment is very straightforward and can be done under local anaesthetic.  Five visits are usually required:

  • Initial assessment where x-rays are taken to enable production of the treatment plan (in some cases, you may be asked to undergo a CT scan if there is evidence of bone recession.
  • Placement of the implant
  • Exposure of the implant and placement of a healing cap about 6-12 weeks later
  • Impressions for final crown, bridge or denture about 6-12 weeks later
  • Fitting of crown, bridge or denture about 2 weeks later
The whole treatment takes between 3 and 6 months to complete.

Although costing more than other treatments, implants are placed for life and are not reliant on the health of adjacent teeth (which is the case with bridges) or the underlying bone structure (recession of which can necessitate the replacement of dentures).  Therefore, over your lifetime, implants can be the most cost effective strategy for replacement of missing teeth.

At AllClear, implants are placed by our specialist oral surgeon, Dr Fadi Barrak.  If you have one or more missing teeth and would like to find out whether dental implant treatment is suitable for you, AllClear can help - please call in, phone 020 8688 3869 or see our website for more details.

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