Dental Implants were pioneered over about 40 years ago by Professor Branemark of Sweden. Before dental implant treatment became as popular as it is today, the alternatives for missing or damaged teeth were simply removable dentures and fixed dental bridges.
Dental Implants are better than both removable dentures as well as dental bridges. With dental implant treatment one is able to replace only a single missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. Dental implant treatment has improved substantially during the last 30 years to what it is today.
With dental implant treatment the chances of success are in the region of 95% of all cases.
Dental implant treatment takes about 3-5 months to complete. The first stage involves placing the implants into the jaw bone. This procedure can be carried out under local anesthetic or sedation (for anxious patients). Once the implants are placed, they are left for about 3-4 months for the bone to heal properly around. After the healing phase, impressions are taken of the implant and a crown or bridge is made that will be connected with the implant itself. The alternatives for dental implant treatment for a single missing tooth would be a removable single tooth denture or a fixed dental bridge. Removable dentures are uncomfortable and unpleasant.
Most patients who have dentures complain about how difficult they are to live with and how they lessen the ability to taste food properly. A fixed dental bridge is more comfortable than a removable denture because it is fixed to the natural teeth. The disadvantage of a fixed dental bridge is it damages the adjacent teeth. The fixed bridge is supported by the adjacent teeth and these need to be prepared to accept the fixed dental bridge. About 1-1.5 mm of enamel is removed permanently in order to support the fixed bridge. The final fixed bridge is cemented into position by means of a dental cement.
Dental Implant treatment can replace several or all of the upper or lower missing teeth. In a procedure known as Teeth-on-4, a minimum of 4 implants are placed in the upper or lower jaw. The implants are placed in such a way that they are stronger than conventional implant positions. The advantage of this type of implant treatment is that the implants can be loaded with fixed teeth on the same day of surgery. This is truly an amazing development in dental implant treatment. Patients are now able to have fixed teeth in just one day.
With time our jaw bones shrink or resorb which makes wearing dentures sometimes almost impossible. Conventional dentures are stabilized only by the gum tissues. In complex cases where patients have had missing teeth for several years, the ridges and gum tissues can be unsuitable for conventional dentures.
This means that dentures can rock, move around and cause sores in the mouth. A full arch of implants and a fixed bridge can give you the confidence and ability to function just like ordinary natural teeth.
In this case a 60 year old female patient came to the Brighton Implant Clinic for help. The three teeth on the upper left side had been missing for some time and the patient had difficulty eating. In addition to the reduction in chewing function the patient was also constantly aware of the spaces present when smiling. The upper left space had no posterior teeth so a dental bridge was not possible in this case. The only other solutions were no teeth at all on the upper left side or a removable partial denture. The patient had tried to get used to a removable denture but had struggled to cope with the constant movement of the denture and the gagging feeling the denture caused on the roof of the mouth. In addition to this the patient had noted a large reduction in taste since having the denture. Three implants were placed on the upper left side. After the healing phase impressions were taken and three porcelain crowns were completed on the implants.
The final dental implant crowns are cement retained crowns as the patient preferred the aesthetics of cement retained crowns over screw retained crowns. For more information on implant treatment contact the Brighton Implant Clinic. We offer a free assessment for dental implant treatment.