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Dental Implants

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Dental implants are a permanent and fixed solution to missing teeth.  They have been around for about thirty years and are basically titanium screws that are fixed in the jawbones to mimic teeth.  They have the advantage that they can replace a lost tooth without having to involve the adjacent teeth.  They are, in fact, one of the most successful treatment options in dentistry today.

Key benefits

  • image4Improved comfort
  • Improved speech
  • Eat better
  • Fixed in mouth
  • Improved self esteem
  • More confidence

What is a Dental Implant?

Implant_Image_1aA dental implant is a small screw made of titanium that is well accepted by our bodies. The implant is inserted directly into the bone of the jaw and after a relatively short healing period it fuses itself to the bone to anchor it firmly and take over the function of a tooth root.

Following the implant placement the healing period would normally be between 8 to 12 weeks, after which, the tooth replacement would take place in the form of a crown, bridge or denture secured to the implant.

Why implants?

In the past when a tooth was lost the only options were dentures or bridges.   Each of these treatments have disadvantages.  Below are the disadvantages of each:

Dentures

  • Have to be taken in and out
  • Can cause decay in teeth or gum problems
  • Not always well tolerated in mouth
  • Movement when eating and speaking

Bridge_Image_2and3Bridges

  • Involves cutting of neighbouring teeth
  • Can result in a tooth dying off over time
  • Puts extra force onto adjacent teeth

Implants, put simply, deal with the space without the need to involve the other teeth in the process.  Implants are, therefore, the gold standard treatment option following the loss of your natural tooth.

What are the options?

Single teeth replacement of one or more teeth Single_tooth_Image_4_5_6
Multiple spaces Replacement of several teeth with an implant-retained bridge. It is not necessary to have an implant for each tooth restored. Multiple_spaces_image_7_8_9
No teeth. All teeth replaced with a non-removable implant-retained “full arch” bridge. Full_arch_bridge_Image_10
Implant retained over-dentures are a “half-way house” between the full arch implant bridge and removable dentures. There are two main types:
Bar attachment allows denture to clip into place bar_overdenture_image_11
Stud attachment or magnets allow denture to be firmly attached to implants. stud_overdenture_image_12

Which implant system do we use?

logo_image_13There are numerous implant systems on the market with different individual characteristics.  The system we use in Weir & McClafferty Dental Care is Straumann who are a Swiss based company with a reputation for quality, research and development.  They have been involved in the precision manufacture of implants for over 30 years and have a very well documented track record in this field.

Straumann are one of the few commercial organisations in the dental implant market place to have a professional connection with a group of independent researchers called the International Team for Implantology (ITI) whose primary aim is to product test, evaluate and make recommendations about Straumann implants.  They produce peer-reviewed papers, journals and books to help disseminate information to the dental community.  Mr McClafferty is a member of the ITI, which allows him to keep up to date with new developments in the fast moving world of implant dentistry.  Straumann is probably the most researched implant system in the world, which along with manufacturing to the highest quality gives us confidence in using this system for our patients.

The complexity of design and the high quality precision required in the manufacture of implant systems means that the treatment can be costly when compared with standard dental procedures.  The degree of skill required in the surgical placement of implants is only achievable through extensive post-graduate training and study with hands-on experience.  The same is true of the highly skilled laboratory technicians who produce the final restorations to ensure they look and function as harmoniously as possible.

Helpful sites

Association of Dental Implantology UK

British Dental Health Foundation

Straumann UK

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