Losing teeth can be devastating. The shape of your face can be changed through tooth loss and it can affect the way you speak, eat and smile. Before the development of the dental technology and techniques we have today it was considered inevitable that tooth loss was a price we had to pay for getting older or for acquiring gum disease, or through accident. We had to accept whatever teeth we were born with no matter how bad they were.
The only option open to us for improvement was to have dentures fitted but these can bring with them their own set of difficulties so may not be suitable for everyone. Now, dental implants are a wonderful way of getting those perfect teeth and that great, natural smile you always wanted and there are several different types of implant available on the market today.
What choices do I have?
Typically made of titanium, the dental implant is a very safe and effective method of restoring teeth, whether one tooth or several. The implant fuses with your jawbone making an extremely strong anchor for your replacement teeth, effectively doing the job of the missing tooth root.There are Standard, Mini and Micro-mini implants. Mini implants are simply smaller versions of a standard implant and micro-mini implants are usually of a more temporary nature, designed to be easily removed. Micro-mini implants are likely to be used with temporary bridgework whilst the permanent implants are healing, after which they can be removed when the permanent tooth or teeth are replaced. This ensures that you are not without teeth at any time.
The most commonly used implant is called an Endostealimplant, usually shaped like a small screw or cylinder and placed in the jawbone.
Another one is the Subperiostealimplant. This is used where someone may have a shallow jawbone or one that for some other reason cannot provide a good enough anchor point for an Endosteal implant. The Subperiosteal implant will be placed under the gum but on, or above the jawbone.
The implants also come in different heights and sizes, which will be determined by which tooth or teeth needs to be replaced.
The One-stage or Two-stage system.
This refers to the procedure at the initial surgery when the implant is being fixed in. In the one-stage system the implant is left exposed after fitting into the jaw and will protrude slightly through the gum tissue. The two-stage system means that the implant is covered with gum tissue while it fuses with the jawbone then uncovered (this is stage two) to allow a connector called a ‘healing abutment’ to be attached to it so that the gum tissue can heal around it.
Single Tooth replacement.
This is where one implant is utilised for one replacement tooth.
Multiple Tooth Replacement.
A multiple tooth replacement usually involves more than one implant supporting fixed bridgework. For example to replace three teeth you would have two implants, one each supporting one tooth with the third fixed in between. The more teeth you need replacing, the more implants, or anchor points, you will need.
Where replacement of multiple teeth is required but you may prefer not to have multiple implants – or your jawbone is unsuitable for multiple implants – there is an ‘over-dentures’ option. Two or more implants, either standard or mini ones, will be used to provide stabilization of the denture with preservation and protection of the jawbone. This method is probably more suitable for a person who prefers the strength and stability that implants offer and for whom traditional dentures can cause irritation and embarrassment.
Your dentist are the experts and therefore can advise you on which system of implants is best for your situation.
Article supplied by London City Smiles – experts in both dental implants and cosmetic dentistry procedures.