I was asked a question not so long ago by a client about whether a DENTAL IMPLANT would suit his needs for replacing some of his teeth. So lets have brief look at how dental implants help in replacing your missing teeth.
Firstly, just a quick introduction to a dental implant. Dental Implants are kind of like a screw made of titanium which integrates into the jaw bone. This is a great alternative to other options such as dentures (which rely on suction and other teeth for retention), and bridges (which can require a lot of adjustment to adjacent teeth).
So when do we use Dental Implants?
Replacing a single tooth
As mentioned earlier, the Dental Implant is one of the options for replacing missing teeth. The great benefit is that it is a tooth by itself, permanently embedded into the bone and not attached to any other tooth. This is the ideal scenario for a missing tooth.
You can place as many implants as you like next to each other depending on the number of teeth you would like to replace. So for instance, if 3 teeth are missing, you could potentially place 3 implants in an area, making them all separate individual teeth. (This of course depends on the amount of jaw bone you have and the nerves and arteries in the way, determined by an X-ray and a CT scan).
However, when replacing more teeth with implants separately, cost can be an issue!
Implant supported bridge
This is considered when you have several teeth consecutively missing in a row. In this instance, instead of replacing each tooth with an implant, (which can be costly), two implants can stand on either side of the gap, and a BRIDGE can be cemented (permanently glued/screwed) onto the implants to replace the missing teeth.
Here is an example of an implant supported bridge, where 2 implants are attached to 3 teeth, replacing 3 missing teeth:
Implant supported denture
Finally, if you are missing all your teeth, and don’t really like the idea of having dentures moving around or falling down, an implant supported denture is probably something worth thinking about. In this situation, you would probably need about 4-6 dental implants on either jaw, to hook on to a denture.
The thing to remember is that the dentures are still meant to be taken out to soak and clean at night when sleeping, just like any other denture. So they are removable from the mouth. But heaps better to use than not having any implants to attach to!
Can we make a full mouth bridge and cement it in permanently to the dental implants?
Yes we can, BUT it will cost you almost 10-15x more to make a full mouth bridge!
Here’s what an Implant supported denture looks like:
So there you have it. The 3 most common uses of dental implants. However, this is just the beginning. Dental implants are now being used in all sorts of branches of dentistry including reconstruction surgery and even teeth straightening! Look out for that!
If you have any further question about dental implants, don’t hesitate to give us a ring on 07 3188 9477