Missing Teeth » Implants
People lose teeth through many different reasons, i.e trauma (when teeth are knocked out) or due to decay, gum disease or old age. Whatever the reason for losing your teeth, they need to be replaced, both for aesthetic and functional reasons. The most common treatments for missing teeth are either a denture or a fixed bridge. However, dental implants are now becoming a more popular treatment to replace missing teeth, as they provide a longer-term solution, slow down bone loss and preserve nearby healthy gum tissue.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is an artificial substitute/replacement for the root portion of your natural tooth and is anchored into a pre-drilled socket in your jaw-bone to support a crown, bridge or secure a denture firmly in place. Implants are made from titanium, a material that is well tolerated by bone and integrates easily with bone tissue. During the placement of a dental implant, the goal is to achieve a close contact between the outer surface of the implant and the surrounding bone tissue so they can "fuse" together (osseointegration), creating a stable support for your new tooth / teeth.
Dental implants can be placed in patients of any age (with fully developed jawbones), provided that they have a sufficient quantity and quality of bone tissue available. Most healthy individuals that maintain a good oral hygiene program are suitable candidates for dental implants. Circumstances where implants may not be suitable, or situations that have an increased risk of implant failure, include:
- Heavy smoking - this slows down and hinders the healing process.
- Excessive alcohol intake - disrupts healing of the gums.
- Periodontal gum disease - all active gum disease must be treated prior to any implant procedure to ensure the long-term success of any treatment. Periodontal disease is a major cause of bone loss, which would hinder the success of any implant procedure.
- Immuno-compromised individuals (steroids, auto-immune disease, patients undergoing radiation treatment).
- Teeth grinders (bruxism) - a night-time splint can be given to treat this.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants have been used for over 30 years to replace missing teeth and they can last a lifetime depending on how well you look after them. Like any other restoration, your implant-supported teeth can still be damaged by trauma and affected by gum disease and poor oral hygiene.
How much do dental implants cost?
The price of dental implants depends on several factors, The cost of a single dental implant starts from £2000.
Replacing all the teeth
Fixed Teeth in a Day
Dental implants are well established as being a great option for replacing missing teeth and securing dentures firmly in place. Acting as the root replacement for your tooth a dental implant is able to prevent the side-effects of missing teeth such as sunken cheeks and bone loss which can often make people appear aged.
Here at Conway House Dental Practice we can offer three main solutions to give you a secure set of new teeth that you can eat, smile and talk with confidently, all in one day. Replacing a full set of missing teeth is what we do best and the treatments that we provide are always life-changing.
The first is implant-retained dentures using a technique known as "SynCone". Between 4 (lower jaw) to 6 (upper jaw) dental implants are placed in the jaw which have tapered posts fitted to them. These tapered posts that are attached to the implants lock tightly into place with a coping (cap) that is fabricated into the base of the denture. This tight connection between the post and the cap helps to support and secure the denture for use on the same day.
Unlike traditional implant-retained dentures the SynCone technique allows the dentures to be held in place by the implants on the same day as surgery rather than waiting 3-6 months for the implants to integrate. SynCone dentures also have less of a tendency to cause gum and bone shrinkage than traditional implant-retained dentures.
All-on-4 Dental Implants
The second technique is the All-on-4 implant system which is where a fixed bridge or denture components are fitted onto 4 dental implants in one day and are not removable by the patient. This is sometimes known as "fixed teeth in a day"
Normally, in order to replace all missing teeth in the upper or lower jaw a patient is required to have 6 – 10 dental implants. With the All-on-4 system two implants at the back of the jaw are placed at an angle of 45 degrees enabling longer implants to be placed in this area for greater stability. The two implants at the front of the jaw are placed at 90 degrees. These 4 implants are then braced together by a fixed bridge which is screwed into the implants and held permanently in place. Unlike an implant-retained denture the All-on-4 denture can only be removed by a dentist and so is as close to having your natural teeth as you will get.
With All-on-4 you can arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon with a permanent set of new teeth.
During your consultation we will discuss the pros and cons of your treatment options so that you can make an informed decision of the treatment that is best suited for your individual situation.
FAQs about All on 4
- Q. Can you give me some information on All on 4?
- A. All on 4 is the name for a technique where 4 implants are used to hold a full jaw of fixed teeth. It can be used in either upper or lower jaws or both
- Q. Are the teeth removable?
- A. No the teeth are screwed in place, they can be removed by the dentist for repair or maintenance
- Q. Do I need to be without teeth for any length of time?
- A. No. The technique is often described as teeth in a day. We normally do the surgery in the morning and fit the new teeth in the afternoon with 2 quick appointments in the middle.
- Q. Are these the final permanent teeth?
- A. No these are provisional teeth fitted to allow the tissue to heal for 4-6 months. The final teeth are made when the tissues have healed. This normally takes 3 visits
- Q. I have full dentures can I still have All on 4?
- A. Yes subject to a full assessment and most importantly a CT scan to measure the bone before treatment
- Q. Does it hurt?
- A. No the treatment will be provided using normal local anaesthetic. Most patients are surprised by how straightforward the treatment is. For more anxious patients we can use sedation to help you relax during the treatment
- Q. I have several broken and failing teeth can I still have this treatment
- A. Yes, normally it is still possible but subject to a CT scan and assessment
- Q. I'm still not sure if I'm suitable
- A. Why don't you come in for a consultation to talk to Dr Sandhu about the treatment, she can then let you know if you're a good candidate or if there is any other treatment that might be better for you
The third way we treat patients who have lost or losing their remaining teeth is by using fixed implant supported porcelain bridges. These custom made bridges can be adapted to nearly every situation, usually 6-8 implants will be needed in each jaw to support this bridge. As a result not all patients are suitable, however they still represent the gold standard in tooth replacement and offer the patient the most natural life-like feel to their replacement teeth. This is the most expensive option but really is the gold standard in the replacement of a full arch of teeth if you have adequate bone density and gum health.
To place an implant in the jaw bone occasionally more bone is required. Recent developments in bone grafting techniques have made implant treatment possible in cases that would have been impossible just a few years ago.
There is more than one bone grafting technique, but they can be grouped into two types.
- The first, and most extensive type of bone grafting is always done as a separate surgery from the implant placement. This type of graft is intended to make large changes to the shape and size of the dental ridge so that a stable implant can be placed; usually some months later.
- In the second type of bone grafting, the jaw may already have enough bone to place the implant, but not enough bone to completely cover the sides of the implant. These types of grafts are generally small in size and are performed at the time of implant placement.
Will a bone graft be needed in my case?
Certainly the larger procedures can be predicted and planned well in advance; however, the smaller grafts done at the time of implant placement cannot always be predicted, and must be available to the surgeon in order to give your implant the best chance of success. A pre operative CT scan will usually show which type if any is necessary.Where does grafted bone come from?
Bone graft material comes from four general sources;
1. Your own available bone
2. Freeze dried human bone from a tissue bank
3. Processed bone elements from animals
4. A mineral bone substitute.Are all types of bone graft material equally effective?
The most effective graft material is your own natural bone, then freeze dried human bone, followed by processed animal bone, and lastly, mineral bone substitute.Is bone grafting safe?
The safest, and most desirable source of bone grafting material comes from your own body. The act of drilling the jawbone for placing the implant naturally produces bone shavings. These shavings can be cleanly collected and used as grafting materials. In the cases of larger grafts, surgical procedures have been developed to harvest additional bone from other places in your body.
Also completely sterile, although the least effective, are mineral bone substitutes. You will be interested to know that the most popular mineral graft materials do not remain in the body, but are naturally absorbed by the body and replaced by healthy bone.