There are many reasons that people may lose their teeth; lack of hygiene and extraction, illnesses, medications and even injury are all common reasons people may lose their teeth.
Traditionally, dentures and bridges were used to help those with tooth loss but as the cost of having oral implants installed has dropped, these are becoming a more common and have the added benefit of being a permanent solution as well as looking more natural.
What are oral implants?
An oral implant is traditionally a small, titanium or other metal-based screw that is fitted into the jawbone to support a dental prosthesis, such as a crown, bridge or denture.
They have become more popular amongst dental patients in recent years, as they are more secure than traditional dentures and they are customised to fit everyone’s mouth shape, tooth shade and even to match the shape of any remaining teeth.
Different types of implants
Implants have evolved through advances in dentistry to help a wider range of tooth loss and as a result, they can be used across a wider spectrum of dental patients to restore their confidence and smile.
Crowns or traditional implants
Typically used when there is minimal tooth loss, crowns replicate singular teeth and are fitted to slot in between other teeth in the mouth to close a visible gap. These usually require a single implant to be fitted in to the jawline.
As the name suggests, this type of implant involves the prosthesis being a set of dentures, with the added benefit of them being fitted to the jaw line to reduce movement.
A significant advantage that this type of implant has is that it also prevents bone loss and improves the strength of the individuals bite. When this type of prosthesis is chosen, the number of implants used will vary between four and 8 fittings in the jawbone.
Where conventional bridges rely on surrounding teeth to anchor them in places, fixed bridges do not as they are entirely supported by the implant or implants in the jaw.
Like crowns, fixed bridges can be used to replace a single tooth and are often used when there is a loss of a front tooth, to provide extra support and to prevent surrounding teeth from moving, as well as bone loss in the jaw.
Mini and micro implants
Mini implants are only a few millimetres smaller that regularly sized ones but as the name suggests, they use less space in the mouth and can be used to replace a tooth missing in an area of the mouth where there is not enough space to fit a regular implant, like between molars.
Micro implants are used when fitting an implant in a small gap between teeth, like a gap in the bottom set of incisors and also when the patient wants a more stable tooth than they would have with a traditional bridge.