Having missing teeth is no laughing matter; it can cause low self-esteem, as well as further dental complications if left untreated, for both your remaining natural teeth as well as your gums. Finding a solution that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing may sound like an impossible prospect, however, implants offer patients a long-term solution to missing teeth.
What are implants?
Implants are titanium screws which are attached to the jawbone and act like artificial roots for your replacement teeth. You can use implants to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or even a whole set. On the end of the screws there is an abutment, which is attached to your replacement tooth. A replacement tooth can be a crown, and for multiple teeth you can also have bridges or dentures. Some dentists offer ‘all-on-4’, where only 4 screws are used to replace a whole set of teeth.
Why should I choose implants?
The big plus point is that the titanium screws ensure that your replacement teeth aren’t going to loosen when you are eating and drinking, or chatting with friends, family or work colleagues. They also look completely natural and nobody should know that you don’t have a full set of natural teeth, as your replacement teeth are made to match your natural teeth in both colour and shape. Another benefit is that they can make your face appear more youthful; many people experience shrinkage to the face and having replacement teeth fitted adds structure back into the face.
Another benefit of implants is that they protect your remaining natural teeth and gums from being exposed to bacteria. As long as you brush and floss regularly, and keep up with your dental check-ups, you should also find them very easy to maintain. Another benefit of implants is that they don’t get cavities either! Having implants fitted doesn’t require general anaesthetic, but you will need to have temporary replacement teeth attached to the screws while they fuse with the jawbone for several months. Once this has had time to occur, you can then return for your replacement teeth to be attached properly.
Where should I go for implants?
Finding a dentist who specialises in dental implants is essential. Your current dentist may offer this treatment, but if they do not, they should be able to refer you to a dentist with the experience and qualifications to carry out the procedure. You can alternatively look on the BDA website for listed qualified dentists or ask friends or family for recommendations. You may also find information on dental practice websites of the treatments that they offer.
Once you find a dentist who offers dental implants, you should book in for a consultation to discuss your thoughts and see if this is the right treatment for you. An experienced dentist will be able to answer any questions you may have about treatment and they will also be able to check that you have enough bone density in your jaw for the screws to be attached to. If not, you may need a bone graft for this and they will be able to advise on this as well.