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.
A 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.
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:
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.
|Single teeth replacement of one or more teeth|
|Multiple spaces Replacement of several teeth with an implant-retained bridge. It is not necessary to have an implant for each tooth restored.|
|No teeth. All teeth replaced with a non-removable implant-retained “full arch” bridge.|
|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|
|Stud attachment or magnets allow denture to be firmly attached to implants.|
There 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.
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