What are they? What are the benefits?
Some people have real difficulties with removable dentures.
Implants are an alternative that can ease difficulties involved with eating and speaking. They can also improve the look and stability of your teeth. Implants can be used in place of bridges, for example when adjacent teeth are intact or may not be strong enough to support a bridge.
Are implants for me?
Your dentist should discuss with you whether implants would be right for you, and explain any associated risks.
Patients need to have healthy gums, and enough jawbone to take the implant that supports the replacement tooth. However, there are techniques available to add additional teeth. Patients must also be prepared to maintain very good oral hygiene and visit the dentist regularly. Implant, like teeth, may be lost if mouth hygiene is poor.
Implant patients need to be in good general health. Some chronic diseases, such as diabetes, osteoporosis or chronic sinus problems, could interfere with healing and make implants more likely to fail.
Implants involve treatment over a period of several months and you may be referred to another dentist who can do this. Since they are a complicated form of treatment, implants can be expensive.
What will my dentist do?
Your dentist will tell you about the stages of treatment, who will be carrying out each stage and the timetable for completing treatment.
Typically the process is as follows;
Bone is exposed in the jaw where the tooth is missing. Then a hole is drilled and the implant is inserted into the bone. The gum is then stitched over the implant and it's left to heal for several weeks.
A second procedure is then planned, in which replacement teeth are mounted onto the implant. This requires a small cut in the gum above the implant. Once the soft tissues have healed, the replacement teeth may be fixed permanently or attached in a way that lets you remove them for cleaning. The replacement teeth might be single or in a group, and and possibly as a "bridge", attached to neighbouring natural teeth.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is important to prevent dental decay and gum disease, which may affect crowned teeth.