If you have lost a tooth, a dental implant is usually the best way of replacing it. A dental implant is a titanium screw that replaces the root of the missing tooth. It is placed by your dentist under a normal dental local anaesthetic. After the implant is placed, the bone around it heals naturally until it is held firmly in the jawbone, much like a natural tooth. Once integrated into the bone, the implant can then be used to attach a crown, bridge or denture to, restoring the natural appearance and function.
Any number of teeth can be replaced with implants- from a single tooth to a full set.
Your dentist will carry out a detailed assessment and let you know the best option for you. The amount and quality of bone remaining will influence the way the treatment is done. It may be necessary to graft bone before or along with implant placement to get the best result.
When replacing a single tooth, the great advantage of an implant is that there is no need to drill the teeth on either side. This would be necessary if a bridge was used to fill the space, as crowns would be placed on the adjacent teeth to support the bridge.
Implants are also very durable- more than 95% of implants placed last at least 10 years. The most important factor is how well they are looked after- with thorough daily cleaning and regular visits to the hygienist.
For people who find coping with dentures difficult, implants can provide a life-changing improvement. The placement of implants allows a denture to be firmly anchored to the jaw, preventing uncomfortable and embarrassing movements. This gives a return to comfort and confidence when smiling, speaking and eating, which can make a huge difference to your quality of life.