If you have lost all of your natural teeth, you may find yourself struggling with ill-fitting, unsecured dentures. Whilst dentures do help patients who have lost their teeth, they come with their own set of problems. Over time, the gums recede, meaning your dentures become loose. This causes problems with eating and speaking, and you may even fear that your dentures will fall out at an inopportune moment!
As well as receding gums, when teeth are lost the bone beneath them begins to resorb or deteriorate. This gives a prematurely-aged, sagging appearance to your face and can make you look old before your time.
Dental implants offer a better solution. Implants are small, titanium screws that are placed directly in the jawbone, acting as replacement tooth roots. Replacement teeth can be attached to the implants in the form of secured dentures or full-mouth implants. Unlike other options, the dental implants actually integrate with the bone and are osteoconductive, meaning they help to prevent bone loss.
If you have been wearing unsecured full dentures for many years, or if you have experienced serious gum disease or a previous infection, your bone may need to be rebuilt with a bone graft prior to placing your implants. We will discuss this with you at your initial implant consultation.
All of our potential implant patients receive an implant consultation and a full treatment plan prior to commencing treatment. We use the Simplant computer-guided implant treatment system, which is a proper surgical guide enabling precise placements of the implants in the jaw bone, combined with a CT scan of the jaw, avoiding the risk of nerve damage.
For implant-secured dentures, at least four implants are placed in the upper jaw and two-three implants in the lower jaw. Attachments called locators are placed on top so that your dentures can be attached securely.
With implants for fixed teeth, six to eight implants are placed in each jaw. Each implant can support more than one replacement tooth, which is usually in the form of a fixed bridge.