When you have gaps in your mouth due to missing teeth, dental implants are likely to be the best solution that is more permanent and feels like an extension of your mouth. But what is involved in a dentist St John’s Wood fitting a dental implant? This is explored below.
At the first appointment, you will have X-rays taken of your jaw and will be asked about your health and lifestyle habits.
This will be to ascertain whether your jaw can sustain the implants once they are fitted. It is also to assess if your lifestyle is compatible with the implants; for instance, if you are a smoker or drink heavily, it is unlikely that you will be suited to having dental implants fitted, as these habits can cause the jaw to become damaged and the gums to recede.
Many health conditions can also complicate the fitting of implants, such as osteoporosis.
Provided that you are seen as suitable for dental implants, you will be invited to have a fitting.
This will include the dental team injecting a numbing agent into your jaw and then making some incisions in specific areas of the mouth. If you have an already vacant socket from a recently extracted tooth, this will be used to fit the implant, but in cases where the tooth has been lost or removed years ago, your team will drill a hole.
The implant is then fitted and the gum is sewn over the implant to ensure that it stays in place and fuses correctly. Implants are made from titanium and through a process called osseointegration, they fuse with the surrounding bone over 4 to 12 months. If the implant does not fuse after 12 months, it will be removed and alternative procedures will be explored.
Crowns, bridges and dentures
When your implant has fused, the gum will be reopened and the prosthetic tooth or teeth will be attached. This is achieved using a connector and an abutment that is part of the implant, meaning your dental team will be able to remove damaged crowns or prosthetics without needing to remove the entire implant.
Your dental team will be able to make a prosthetic tooth or teeth that blend in seamlessly with any surrounding original teeth, using shade and translucency as a starting point. If you are going to have an entire set of dentures fitted, you can have a more glamorous aesthetic applied to your teeth, but the result will be based on your aesthetic goals for the treatment.
Dental implants are a significant investment of time and money; if you have a habit of grinding your teeth when you sleep, your dental team should be able to provide you with a nocturnal guard to wear once your prosthetic teeth are fitted.
This will be custom-fitted, but may need replacing every 6 months or so.
Maintaining implants is easy; you simply brush them as you would your natural teeth, floss them and of course, attend dental check-ups. If you suspect that there is an issue with your implants, do not hesitate to contact your dental surgery immediately.