Dental implants are similar to partial dentures, but are fixed to the jaw using special titanium screws.
Dental implants may be used to replace single or several teeth. They may also be suitable when dentures are not appropriate.
Implants are not usually available on the NHS, unless a person has had an accident or dental problems after mouth cancer.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
There are many advantages of dental implants, including:
- Improved appearance. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth, and because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
- Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that your teeth might slip.
- Improved comfort. Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
- Easier eating. Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favourite foods with confidence and without pain.
- Improved self-esteem. Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.
- Improved oral health. Dental implants don't require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving your long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
- Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
- Convenience. Removable dentures are just that, removable. Dental implants eliminate the inconvenience of removing your dentures, as well as the need for adhesives to keep your dentures in place.
How successful are dental implants?
Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care (see below), implants can last a lifetime.
Can anyone get dental implants?
In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders, such as diabetes or heart disease, or patients who have had radiotherapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. If you are considering implants, talk to your dentist to see if implants are suitable for you.
What is involved in getting a dental implant?
The first step in the dental implant process is the development of an individual treatment plan. The plan addresses your specific needs and is prepared by a team of professionals who are specially trained and experienced in oral surgery and restorative dentistry. This team approach provides coordinated care based on the implant option that is best for you.