Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth by serving as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. Dental implants are small tissue-compatible surgical grade titanium fixtures. They are inserted into either the upper or lower jaw bone. These new teeth will match the colours and contours of the existing teeth.
How does a dental implant work?
It is an accident of nature that titanium is not rejected by the body’s immune system. IN fact the bone cells actively grow onto the implant surface and lock it into place. This period of natural bonding is referred to as ‘Osseo integration’. The integrated fixtures then become like secure new tooth roots upon which crown, bridge or denture can be held in place. Implants can replace a single tooth or a whole mouthful of missing teeth.
Am I a suitable candidate for a dental implant?
A few medical conditions prevent the use of implants but these are rare. There is no age limit and elderly patients are often quite suitable. However implants need enough good quality bone to lock into. Certain individuals may not have enough bone in the right place or the bone may be too fragile to support an implant. This can sometimes be overcome by bone grafting procedures.
Are implants safe and long lasting?
No treatment can be guaranteed to work but implants have a high success rate in the right cases. Complications are rare if the planning has been performed carefully. Implant treatment is now a well-established technique with a success rate of more than 95% over a fifteen year period. It is essential to care for implants properly once they are in your mouth or they may fail due to infection.
Planning your treatment
The treatment can be carried out by Old Harlow Dental Practice on a surgery-only basis – where your dentist will be involved in the planning and building of the superstructure crown or bridgework. Alternatively we can execute the whole process, with our dentist working in close consultation with our specialist.
Will it hurt?
Not as much as you might expect! The fixtures are placed surgically but the operation has to be done very gently. You should expect mild discomfort equivalent to having a tooth extracted. You will need a second much smaller operation later to uncover the implant also. This rarely causes discomfort.
What if I smoke?
Smoking can inhibit proper healing of an implant. However, this does not prevent smokers from having implants successfully placed and restored. You should speak to your dentist for more specific information relating to your dental needs and the effects of smoking.
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