30-Jul-2015

Dental Implants

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DENTAL implants are the most advanced way to permanently replace missing teeth and have had a fascinating development through the ages.

There may well have been an explosion in interest over the past decade, but the first implant is believed to date back to the year 600AD.

Today, dental implants are probably one of the most researched areas of dentistry. However, the modern titanium ones actually came about thanks to a chance medical breakthrough when researchers found that titanium can fuse to bone.

 

Implants can be used to fill gaps, with crowns or a bridge, or to hold loose dentures in place, often called implant-retained over-dentures.

The process itself is relatively painless and involves the surgical placement of a titanium rod into the jaw bone where your natural tooth came out. This is then used to hold the crown, bridge or loose denture. An implant-retained crown or bridge can look just like natural teeth, restoring both the teeth and gums.

However, this advancement in dentistry is not suitable for everyone, so a consultation is vital. Implants are best suited to non-smokers and patients who have plenty of bone and good oral hygiene. Smoking severely restricts the blood supply and, with it, the size of the bone into which the implant can be placed. The good news is that if you stop smoking, the bone will often quickly recover.

Patients who do not have enough bone in the upper jaw for dental implants to be placed, or whose sinuses are too close to the jaw, can have a sinus lift first.

The outcome and success of implant dentistry very much lie in the expertise, skill and experience of the clinician.

So it’s important to be sure of their qualifications and experience, especially given that qualifications can range from weekend courses to postgraduate ones.

Dental implants are indeed a financial investment, costing around £2,200 per tooth plus the initial consultation. But they can in fact work out cheaper than alternative treatments in the long-run thanks to the lifespan of the implant.

It is important when considering implant dentistry that you fully understand the treatment and the expected outcomes. There may be alternative treatments you wish to consider, notably a bridge or a denture.

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