A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made from titanium, which is surgically implanted into a pre-drilled hole in the jawbone. The tooth root is designed to hold a replacement tooth, bridge or denture.
Why would I need a dental implant?
Dental implants are used by people who need to replace their teeth. Here are some of the most common reasons for tooth loss:
Poor dental hygiene
In the past, dentures and fixed bridges have most commonly been used to replace missing teeth. However, dental implants are now becoming a more popular form treatment because of their long-term health advantages. Unlike dentures and fixed bridges, dental implants actually stimulate bone growth and prevent atrophy (where the bone around the missing tooth starts to disappear).
Dental implants also eliminate the need for removable dentures and offer greater durability, which improves speech, appearance and the ability to chew food.
What’s the procedure and cost?
Before you have dental implants your dentist will assess the health of your teeth and gums.
If gum disease or decay is present, these conditions will be treated first. Bone quality and the anatomical structure of your mouth area are checked using x-rays and, in certain cases, CT scans.
There are many types of dental implants available for your dentist to use, each designed for a specific function. Most are made of titanium, which fuses with living bone. The types available include:
Root form implants. These are implants are the closest in shape and size to the natural tooth root. They are commonly used in wide and deep bone to provide a base for the replacement of one, several, or a complete row of teeth.
Plate form implants. This type of implant is used when the bone is too narrow for a root form implant. They have a long and flat shape to allow them to fit comfortably in a narrow jawbone.
Subperiosteal implants. If the patient does not have enough bone width or height for either a root form implant or plate form implant, the subperiosteal implant may be recommended. It’s a custom made model of an individual’s jawbone in optimum condition and fits on top of the jawbone, under the gums.
The cost of dental implants varies depending on the type and number of implants used.
Single teeth typically cost between £2,000 and £4,000. A full set of dental implants may cost up to £30,000.
Pre-requisites for treatment
The ideal candidates for dental implants are non-smokers who are in good physical health. People with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or immune disorders may not be suitable for this procedure, as these conditions can impede the healing process and increase the chance of implant rejection.
Suitable candidates must also have a healthy jawbone for a dental implant to be successfully placed. For example, root form implants rely on osseo-integration; a process in which the titanium implant fuses with living bone to securely anchor it in position. Bone grafts can be used in cases where the jawbone is deemed unhealthy.
If you’d like to find out more about dental implants and whether they are a suitable treatment for you, please get in touch with one of our patient co-ordinators who will be happy to discuss your requirements.