Over the past few decades, dental implants have become the gold standard of tooth replacement due to their high success rate and versatility.
Once a tooth is extracted, the jaw bone, the adjacent teeth and the soft tissue would undergo some changes. The jaw bone would start to shrink, the teeth would drift and the appearance of the face can also alter.
Traditionally, missing teeth were replaced by bridges or dentures which would, to some extent, provide function and aesthetics but, at a cost.
Bridges rely on support from neighbouring teeth and those teeth would generally need to be cut down and prepared and may also be overloaded when in function. Dentures on the other hand , are bulky and could move around so some people do not tolerate them very well.
A dental implant is made out of a titanium alloy and generally shaped like the root of a tooth. To place it in the jaw bone, it is necessary to ensure adequate volume of bone is present. To assess this, at OXFORD PLACE DENTAL, we have made a significant investment in a CT-scanning technology. The device is called a “dental cone beam CT-scanner” from the makers of our CEREC machine.
Compared to a medical CT-scanner that you would normally see in hospitals, this one is a lot smaller and the X-Ray dose is massively reduced. The images obtained, would accurately show the jaw bone architecture. To increase the accuracy of our work, we also use a computer software in which, implants can be virtually placed and fully assessed in relation to other anatomical structures such as nerves and sinuses. From this, a surgical guide could be manufactured using a 3D-printer which is used as an aid in positioning implants during surgery. Using computer precision in this manner would help to achieve the best final results in terms of aesthetics and function.
The actual placement of implants is quite straightforward and generally done under local anaesthetic but could also be done under sedation.
Once the implant is placed in the jaw bone, it is left buried under the gum for 3-6 months . The bone will start to grow around the implant which is termed “osseointegration”. After that, implants are uncovered and in a sequence of stages a crown, a bridge or a denture is made to be fitted over them.
Replacing one missing tooth
Replacing multiple missing teeth
Replacing a full arch of teeth
Implants to stabilise dentures
The extremely important thing to note with implants is that, in exactly same manner to natural teeth or even more so, they need to be looked after carefully to avoid gum inflammation around them or in some cases implant failure. This requires very good daily oral hygiene routine, regular hygiene appointments and annual checks by a dentist. Smoking is a definite no-no if implants are to last for years to come.