Here at Village Dental Practice we offer dental implants for the replacement of missing teeth our highly experienced implant surgeon Dr. Matthew Perkins has a special interest in the restoration of beautiful smiles with implants. He is also experienced in advanced implant techniques such as bone grafting. We have provided the answers to some our patient’s most frequently asked questions below:
Q. What is a Dental Implant?
A. A dental implant is a replacement for the root portion of your tooth and sits fixed within your jawbone to support a single crown, bridges or dentures. Implants are made from a titanium alloy, which is biocompatible with your own body tissues and safe to use.
Q. What is the procedure that is involved?
A. Dental implants are usually placed under local anaesthesia and it is a painless procedure. For anxious patients or long procedures we can provide intravenous sedation. A hole is drilled into your jawbone using a special drill, which then accommodates the titanium implant. The implant is usually left in place to heal for 3-6 months. During this period you will be provided with temporary teeth while your bone tissue grows around the implant by a process called osseointegration. Once the implant has fully integrated with your bone tissue it is strong enough to support a crown, bridge or secure a denture in place.
Q. How long does the procedure take?
A. This depends on the complexity but can range from 1 – 2 hours per implant. At Village Dental Practice, we will advise you of the schedule for your different visits, and it may be that a couple of days off work may be needed after implant insertion.
Q. What are the benefits of implants over bridges & dentures?
A. Although the conventional methods of replacing missing teeth are to use either a fixed bridge or a denture, dental implants provide better support and usually result in a more comfortable and stable method of tooth replacement. Jawbone shrinkage, which is often associated when a tooth is lost, is slowed down / prevented with an implant.
Replacing missing teeth with bridges involves sticking false teeth onto existing ones, which can involve filing down healthy teeth to act as retainers. This could compromise the structure of otherwise healthy teeth. Bridges can only be used when there are sufficiently strong supporting teeth whereas implants are an independent restoration.
Dentures are false teeth attached to a plastic or metal plate. The problem with dentures is that they are cumbersome and have to be taken in and out every day and for cleaning. In addition, if the shape of the gums and bone in the mouth is not appropriate, dentures may not always stay in place. Eating solid foods is often a problem with dentures that tend to come loose. However mini implants or full sized implants can be used to secure dentures into place.
Q. What are the guarantees?
A. No-one can ever guarantee total success, but titanium dental implants have been widely used for well over 25 years with a success rate of between 90 – 95%. If well looked after dental implants can last a lifetime. So although they are more expensive than bridges in the long term they probably work out more cost effective.
Q. Known complications
A. As with all surgical procedures there may be some complications. With implant dentistry this can be a failure of the implant to integrate with the jawbone, or perhaps some damage to nearby anatomical structures. However, the incidence of such complications is very low, and careful pre-operative planning ensures that any risks are kept to an absolute minimum.
At Village Dental Practice we take extreme care to assess every case individually. We work closely with our patients to assess the options and highlight the likelihood of success and any related risks.
Q. Bone grafting and implants
A. The presence of bone of sufficient quality and quantity is critical to the successful placement of implants. However, this is not always present in every patient, and is usually related to how the gums have healed after tooth extraction.
Previously, it was thought that it was not possible to place implants in areas with insufficient bone. Nowadays advances in modern dentistry use certain procedures to increase the amount of available bone using endogenous bone (i.e. belonging to the patient), artificial substitutes, or a combination of both. These grafting techniques are simple and often carried out at the time of implant placement.
Here at Village Dental Practice in Stevenage we are experienced in these techniques and will discuss the best options with you.