Whether through trauma, gum disease or simply getting older – losing teeth is never pleasant.
And while traditional treatments, such as dentures and bridges, might be better known, dental implants are the modern way to replace those missing teeth.
Strong, long-lasting implants
Made of titanium, implants act like a tooth’s root and are anchored inside your jawbone to accommodate a crown.
The result is an extremely long-lasting new tooth that looks like it emerges naturally from the gum.
The components of a dental implant
▸ The ‘screw’ or ‘post’
The ‘screw’ or ‘post’ acts as the root portion of the tooth. It’s made of titanium (which is well tolerated by bone) and osseointegrates to the surrounding bone. This means that over time, the screw and your jawbone will fuse together naturally, which is why implants are so durable.
▸ The crown
The crown acts as the visible portion of the tooth and is attached to the implant’s screw. It’s usually made of tooth-coloured ceramics to look just like a real tooth and is strong enough to withstand large chewing forces.
The process of placing dental implants
After treating any gum disease or decay and assessing your bone structure, implants are usually placed over three appointments:
- We cut and lift your gum, drill a hole in the jawbone, place a titanium screw and stitch your gum back over it. We give you temporary bridges while the implant heals during six weeks to six months
- We lift your gum again, attach a post with a temporary crown and leave the surrounding gum tissue to mature during four to six weeks
- We fit your permanent new crown to the post and your smile is restored!
The benefits of dental implants
Missing teeth should always be replaced, both for functional and aesthetic purposes. The advantage of using implants rather than bridges or dentures are:
- When a tooth is lost and as we get older, bone tissue can slowly start to disappear. Implants stimulate bone growth, thus reducing bone loss and preventing sagging of the cheeks
- Implants can withstand chewing forces from hard foods such as apples
- Dental implants are easy to clean
- Placing bridges involves removing healthy tooth structure, but dental implants don’t affect your natural teeth at all
- Implants provide a natural result with an artificial tooth that is usually indistinguishable from your other teeth.
Zaki Kanaan is a highly experienced and respected implant and cosmetic dentist and is well known in the dental community. He is the past President of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He features prominently on the lecture circuit, speaking on all aspects of cosmetic dentistry with a special interest in dental implants, where he has achieved a Masters Degree from the world renowned Guy’s Hospital in 2001.
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