Implant Active - What is an implant?
A dental implant replaces missing or lost teeth through the insertion of a small titanium screw into either the upper or lower jawbone.
This implant serves to support the placement of a crown (or bridge or denture) much like a natural tooth root would do.
This screw is accepted by the local tissues through a process known as osseointegration, made possible by the biocompatibility of titanium. In over 96 per cent of patients osseointegration is successful and with appropriate care from both the patient and dentist, through home maintenance and routine check-ups, a dental implant should last for many years.
What are dental implants and their advantages?
One of the main advantages of dental implants is the ease with which they can replace the natural function of the mouth. This is managed without any damage to neighbouring teeth, unlike bridges that require adjacent teeth to be trimmed to accommodate the replacement tooth and its supporting structures, making dental implants a very conservative and aesthetic method of tooth replacement.
Unlike dentures, dental implants do not need to be removed for cleaning so you can brush them almost exactly as you would your normal teeth.
Dental implant teeth look natural from every angle, even under close inspection. Though both dentures and bridges look very natural during conversation and eating, on close investigation the methods by which they are retained in the mouth can be more obvious than dental implants. You will also be given a choice of shade for your new tooth so it can match seamlessly with the others around it, or even whiten your smile if this is what you would prefer.
Unlike traditional dentures and tooth-supported bridges, the placement of a dental implant prevents bone loss from the jaw. Bone loss is a natural phenomenon that occurs when there is no longer a tooth to hold in place, but after successful osseointegration of the dental implant the bone levels are maintained and facial structure remains unchanged. This can delay signs of aging by stopping the face from 'sinking in' as well as helping to maintain bone around neighbouring teeth.
Who can have dental implants?
Dental implants are recommended for people who have one, or many, teeth missing from any cause ranging from development and trauma to periodontal disease and decay. This can be in either one or both jaws. They are particularly suitable for people who do not like the thought of wearing traditional dentures as replacement teeth or cannot get on well with them due to their bulky nature and often poor retention, especially on the lower jaw.
Dental implants used in Dentures
Dentures, especially those in the upper jaw, are notorious for interfering with taste as they cover areas of the palate and soft tissue responsible for providing the perception of flavour. By choosing dental implants to hold your denture in place, you can be sure that this problem will be either completely eradicated or greatly reduced as the denture can be designed so much of the palate is uncovered.
Most people are suitable for dental implants, though a personal analysis will be undertaken with your dentist to make sure that you are medically suitable and that you have appropriate dental anatomy and bone levels. Patients with medical histories involving uncontrolled diabetes, osteoporosis or other genetic conditions that cause gum shrinkage will have less success with dental implants. Poor oral hygiene and smoking are habits that will also decrease the success a person can have with implants.
Why are dental implants made from titanium?
Titanium is a metal with the unique property of being able to fuse with bone. This was, as many phenomena are, discovered by accident when an orthopaedic surgeon, Branemark, initiated his research in bone healing and regeneration through the insertion of a titanium network into a piece of bone. It was only on attempted removal of this material for the continuation of his research that Branemark discovered the remarkable property of this element; it had osseointegrated, the term used to describe the distinctive fusion between the bone and metal.
Nowadays titanium is still proving to be a unique and successful metal through its use in the placement of dental implants; its successful binding to human bone has proved to be unmatched by any other material.
ImplantDirect dental implants
Many companies produce dental implants and that is why it is very important to be sure that you are having dental implants made from a well-respected manufacturer with years of experience and research behind them, not to mention successful results. At our practice, state-of-the-art dental implants and dental implant abutments are obtained from ImplantDirect, one of the largest companies in dental implant materials. This highly acclaimed company is one of the most popular dental implant choices in the USA and remains at the forefront of dental implant development and manufacture. As one of the leading UK surgeries in the successful placement of ImplantDirect dental implants, we have experience from years of continued use with their products.