Understanding Dental Implants
In the heart of London, Wimpole Street Dental Clinic proudly serves as an industry leader in oral healthcare, offering innovative treatments such as dental implants. But what exactly is this procedure, why is it needed, and how does it benefit the patient? In this article, we explore these questions in depth, providing expert insights to help demystify implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants refer to the process of replacing a missing tooth or teeth. This involves two main stages: implant placement, where a titanium post is surgically inserted into the jawbone, and restoration, where a custom-made crown is affixed to the implant.
Why are dental implants needed?
The need for dental implants arises due to tooth loss, which can occur due to assorted reasons including trauma, severe decay, or periodontal disease. According to a survey by the Oral Health Foundation, nearly seven million adults in the UK have lost at least one tooth. Dental implants not only restore the aesthetic appeal of a smile but also ensures proper oral function and health.
What is the dental implant process?
Initial consultation and evaluation
As for any dental procedure, a comprehensive initial consultation is required. This involves a thorough dental examination, including X-rays or 3D images, and a review of the patient’s medical history. The initial consultation helps us plan the treatment tailored to the patient’s oral health needs.
Creating the treatment plan
After a thorough evaluation, a detailed treatment plan is crafted. This plan outlines the step-by-step process of the implant restoration and considers factors such as the number of teeth needing replacement and the condition of the patient’s jawbone. The treatment plan offers patients a clear roadmap for their dental journey.
Placement of the dental implant
The next step is the surgical insertion of the titanium implant into the jawbone, in the space left by the missing tooth. This is performed under local anaesthesia, ensuring the patient’s comfort throughout the procedure. It is important to note that the implant acts as a new root for the replacement tooth.
Following the implant placement, a healing period known as osseointegration begins. During this phase, which can last a few weeks, the implant fuses with the jawbone to provide a solid foundation for the new crown. Regular check-ups are conducted at our clinic to monitor this crucial phase.
Abutment placement and custom crown creation
After successful osseointegration, an abutment or connector post is placed on the implant to hold the new tooth. Following this, impressions of the patient’s mouth are taken to create a custom crown that matches the colour, shape, and size of the natural teeth.
Attachment of the crown
The last step is the placement of the crown onto the abutment. The crown is carefully adjusted to ensure it fits perfectly and feels comfortable. Once satisfied, the dentist permanently secures the crown, completing the implant restoration process.
Follow-up and aftercare
Post-procedure, we schedule follow-up visits to monitor the patient’s adaptation and the effectiveness of the implant. Proper aftercare instructions are provided, including regular brushing, flossing, and periodic dental check-ups to ensure the longevity of the implant restoration.
How long does implant restoration typically last?
With proper care and maintenance, implant restorations can last a lifetime. A study by the British Dental Journal found that 95% of implant restorations are still functioning well after 10 years.
What are the benefits of implant restoration?
Implant restorations offer a plethora of benefits, making them a popular choice for tooth replacement. Here are the key advantages:
Natural look and feel.
Implant restorations are designed to blend seamlessly with the remaining natural teeth. From the crown’s colour to its shape, every aspect is tailored to mimic a natural tooth, providing an aesthetic and comfortable solution.
Improved oral function.
With implant restorations, patients can eat, speak, and laugh without worrying about their teeth. Unlike removable dentures, which can slip or make noise, dental implants are firmly anchored in place, leading to improved speech, and chewing ability.
Dental implants are designed to last. According to the British Dental Journal, with good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, 95% of implant restorations continue to function effectively even after 10 years.
Preservation of jawbone health
When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation can lead to jawbone loss over time. However, because dental implants replace the tooth root, they provide the necessary stimulation to the jawbone, helping to maintain its health and density.
Prevention of facial sagging
Implant restorations help maintain the natural shape of the face and smile. Tooth loss without replacement can lead to facial sagging over time due to bone loss. Dental implants help to prevent this unsightly and ageing effect.
Protection of healthy teeth
Unlike a tooth-supported bridge, implant restorations do not require altering the structure of neighbouring healthy teeth. The implant is inserted directly into the jawbone where the tooth is missing, leaving the rest of your natural teeth untouched.
A complete and healthy smile goes a long way in boosting one’s self-esteem. Implant restorations allow patients to regain their confidence, enhancing their overall quality of life.
ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Clinically reviewed by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl
Written by: Dr Raul Costa
About the author:
Dr Raul Costa is a restorative dentist with a unique set of skills for dental aesthetics and a drive for ultra-conservative techniques. He qualified from the Lisbon Dental School in 2005 and has been practicing in London since 2008. He works with world-renowned ceramists in order to deliver natural-looking, life-like, crowns and veneers. He is also particularly talented and experienced with composite bondings and implant-supported restorations.