Losing a tooth is a traumatic experience. Teeth may be lost through decay, gum disease, accident or injury. Whatever the cause, having a gap in your mouth can cause a great deal of emotional distress and embarrassment. It can also lead to further dental health problems as remaining teeth move into the gap, often becoming crooked and harder to clean in the process.
A dental implant is a fast and effective permanent solution for a missing tooth. While there are other options – such as bridges – available to replace a single missing tooth, they do not offer the same strength as dental implants. Unlike bridges, implants do not require any work on surrounding teeth.
Dental implants are small titanium screws placed in your jawbone with a minor surgical procedure. This is usually carried out under local anaesthetic, so is a pain-free procedure, but we can also place implants under sedation if you are particularly nervous.
Once in place, the dental implant actually integrates with your jawbone, providing a firm anchor for a replacement tooth. This integration also helps to prevent the problem of bone degeneration, which happens over time when a tooth is lost.
Sometimes it is possible to fit a replacement tooth immediately, at the same time as your implant is placed. This will depend on your oral health and the condition of your jawbone. This replacement tooth is closely matched to the shade of your natural teeth, so it will blend in perfectly.
In other cases the implant is left to bond with the bone for a short period (usually a couple of months) before your replacement tooth is attached.
Whichever option you have, the bone and the implant will continue to mesh, until the implant becomes a natural component of your jaw. The result will be a replacement tooth that looks and acts just like a natural tooth, enabling you to eat a healthy, varied diet. Like regular teeth, implants and replacement teeth need good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dental practice to keep them in prime condition.