For those that are missing teeth or struggling with ill-fitting dentures, dental implants are considered the gold standard in tooth replacement and the next best thing to natural teeth. Dental implants permanently restore the look, feel and function of your natural teeth and allow you to eat, drink and smile with confidence.
If you’re thinking about transforming your smile with dental implants and want to learn more, this guide will take you through each step of the process and answer some of the most common patient questions.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a small titanium screw that is implanted into the jawbone to form an artificial tooth root, providing a strong foundation for a prosthetic crown, bridge or dentures to be securely attached. Over time, the jaw bone grows around the surface of the implant, resulting in a tooth or multiple teeth that feel and act like your own and create a beautiful smile for life. Dental implants may be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or a full set.
5 benefits of dental implants
Dental implants offer a variety of advantages compared to traditional tooth replacement options:
- They look, feel and function like natural teeth
The strong and secure artificial root results in a tooth replacement that looks and feels just like a natural tooth. This means that patients have the confidence to eat, smile and go about their daily life in a way that may not be possible with dentures.
- A long-lasting solution
Dental implants are long-lasting. With proper care and maintenance, they have the ability to last the rest of your life.
- Reliable success rate
Dental implants are a high-tech procedure, making the most of the advanced technology available to ensure predictable outcomes and the highest possible success rate. People in good health have a higher chance of their implant being a success.
- You can eat and drink whatever you like
Missing teeth and traditional tooth replacements can make it difficult to eat certain foods and drinks, but a dental implant’s strong artificial root allows you to enjoy all of the food and drink you like – even steak and corn on the cob!
- Improved bone structure
A dental implant helps to preserve the jaw bone over time, significantly reducing bone deterioration and maintaining the face’s structure. This also helps to support the facial tissues, helping you maintain a youthful appearance for longer!
What’s involved in getting dental implants?
The process of getting dental implants can be broken down into four simple steps.
Step 1: Examination and consultation
The first step of any implant treatment is an initial examination and consultation. This will determine whether you are a suitable candidate for dental implants and want to go ahead with step 2.
Step 2: Impressions are taken
If you and your dentist have decided that implants are right for you, impressions of your teeth will be taken so that the dentist can plan your treatment and design your replacement teeth. X-rays are also normally required to plan the correct placement of the implant in your jaw bone.
Step 3: Implant surgery
Implant treatments are high tech and typically only involve one relatively minor surgical procedure. This is completed under local anaesthetic, or sometimes a combination of local anaesthetic and sedation under the supervision of an anaesthetist.
Step 4: Replacement teeth are fitted
Once the implant has been fitted into the jaw bone, it needs to heal and integrate. In some cases, replacement teeth are fitted to the implant immediately. However, other cases require the implant to be left to heal for a few months before fitting the replacement teeth. This ensures the most stable foundation for the replacement teeth. Patients are usually able to return to work 1-2 days after surgery and will be provided with temporary teeth whilst the implant heals, so they are never left with unfilled gaps.
Are dental implants the right option for me?
Most patients are able to have dental implant treatment, but it isn’t right for everyone. Suitability depends on the quality of your jaw bone and requires strong and healthy gums. The only way to know if dental implants are the right option for you is to arrange a dental implants consultation.
At Ringley Park, our implant dentists are highly experienced and members of the Association of Dental Implantology (ADI). Learn more about our dental implants service in Reigate or give us a call on 01737240123.