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Dental Implants in Wirral

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are a realistic, strong and permanent way of replacing missing teeth. We carry out dental implant treatment at our practice in Wirral, Cheshire, so even if you live in Liverpool or Chester, its not too far to come to receive the expert care we offer.

The implants can be used to replace a single tooth or a number of teeth, and can also be used as a much more comfortable and convenient method of keeping dentures in place.

Dental implants have been available for a very long time. Whilst undertaking bone research in Sweden in 1965, Professor Brånemark discovered a unique bone between titanium and bone. This process is called “osseointegration”.

Titanium dental implants have been widely studied and have been shown to have very high long term success rates in the treatment of patients with missing teeth.

What are the benefits of dental implant treatment?

For many people the loss of one or more teeth can have unpleasant consequences. The loss of front teeth can be unsightly whilst the loss of back teeth can lead to a decrease in chewing function and can ultimately lead to problems with the jaw joint in some patients.

Traditional methods of tooth replacement include partial dentures or bridgework. Bridgework usually requires drilling of the adjacent teeth which can have a detrimental effect on these teeth in the long-term. Loose dentures can cause areas of gum ulceration and soreness. Upper dentures often need to cover the roof of the mouth. This can lead to loss of taste and problems with speech. A denture supported by implants avoids these problems.

Loss of teeth is also associated with a loss of the underlying bone. This is termed “atrophy”. This atrophy worsens the longer that teeth are missing. This can have an effect on the jaw function but can cause adverse changes to the appearance of the face. Dental implant treatment will prevent this bone loss “atrophy”.

What does the dental implant treatment involve?

Dental implant treatment usually takes place in two phases.

Dental implant treatment – phase 1

This is the placement of the dental implant. This takes place in the dental surgery and is normally possible with normal local anaesthetic. It is possible to arrange treatment under light sedation if patients prefer.

The dental implant then needs to integrate fully with the jaw bone. This process varies but is usually between 6 to 8 weeks.

It is possible to wear temporary dentures or bridges during the healing period to minimise cosmetic or functional disturbance.

Dental implant treatment – phase 2

Once the dental implant has healed, impressions can be taken. The laboratory will then construct a custom made crown or bridge that matches the natural teeth.

Dental implants can be used to replace single teeth, several teeth or complete dentures. Fitting of the crown / bridge is not however the end of treatment. One of the most important things with dental implant treatment is good aftercare and maintenance.

In some patients it is possible to place temporary crowns / bridges directly onto the implants at the time of placement. This is termed immediate function. Not all patients are suitable for this. This can be discussed at the initial consultation appointment.

In some situations damage will have occurred to the bone prior to the loss of teeth. In these situations it is important that the bone damage is repaired as part of the implant treatment. This can require small bone grafts or a technique called guided bone regeneration. This is a process of growing bone at the implant site utilising biomaterials. Again the need for this will be discussed at the consultation appointment.

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In some situations damage will have occurred to the bone prior to the loss of teeth. In these situations it is important that the bone damage is repaired as part of the implant treatment. This can require small bone grafts or a technique called guided bone regeneration. This is a process of growing bone at the implant site utilising biomaterials. Again the need for this will be discussed at the consultation appointment.

How successful is the dental implant treatment?

Dental implants are a tried and tested treatment. Studies have showed that the long-term survival of implants can be as high as 90% at 20 years. This compares very favourably with conventional dental treatment.

As with natural teeth, the success is improved with thorough cleaning. It is very important that implants are well looked after and that regular hygienist treatment is undertaken. If this is not carried out then there is a risk of problems similar to gum disease. This is termed peri-implantitis and is similar to periodontal disease affecting teeth.

Cleaning around implants is no more difficult than around natural teeth. Instructions in cleaning and home care will be provided. We strongly urge all patients with implants to see the hygienist on a regular basis.

The success of implants is also reduced in patients who smoke.

On rare occasions that implants do not take, it is possible to simple remove the implant and replace it after a suitable period of healing.

 

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