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Single Tooth Replacement
This is the most common situation in which we use implants – it ensures a ‘fixed’ answer functioning in the same way as a tooth but without damaging the adjacent healthy teeth in any way that would be necessary with bridges and all other alternatives.
Overdentures are a very cost effective way of having a fixed set of teeth in your mouth. Osseointegrated root form implants give a predictable long term answer to loose dentures (unlike blade implants or sub-periosoteal implants). Many cases have lasted over forty years. They are especially useful with the lower denture. Overdentures can transform people’s lives, enabling the recipient to get back lost function and confidence when eating, talking, kissing and smiling.
Larger spaces created by two, three or even a full set of missing teeth do not necessarily need one implant per tooth, however the exact number of implants will depend upon the individual situation. It is also possible to join implants to natural teeth with a conventional bridge in many situations. This can help keep costs as low as possible by reducing the number of implants that have to be used.
Summary of stages for routine dental implants
- Is the diagnosis and treatment planning stage, where we will take radiographs (x-rays) and carry out other tests where we can determine what treatments are possible for you. After this stage, it may be necessary to carry out repairs or treatment to any remaining teeth or to improve the health of your gums and mouth.
- Implant(s) placement is usually followed by a period of healing lasting from 6 weeks to 6 months. Usually we place the implants so that they are completely hidden beneath the gum; however occasionally a one-stage procedure where the implant is visible from the time of placement is used. A denture or temporary bridge will ensure you continue to have the appearance of teeth after the procedure. Stitches are normally removed 7 days after the implant placement. Several visits may be needed over the next few weeks to adjust temporary teeth or dentures and to monitor healing.
- Once the implants have healed uneventfully for the required time, they are uncovered (if necessary) and made ready to connect the teeth. Two or three stitches are usually necessary, and again, are removed after 7 days. Your denture or temporary bridge is adjusted so you can continue to have the appearance of teeth throughout this stage. Sometimes the time allowed for implants to integrate may be increased or decreased to suit the local bone conditions and the overall quality of healing.
- Final teeth are commonly fitted between 3 and 9 months after the implants were first placed. In some cases the first teeth fitted to your implants are not the final ones, but replicas of the intended design. This stage can be used to assess the implants, control early loading and in areas where aesthetics are more critical, also gives the gums time to mature around each implant before final teeth are fitted.
IN THE FUTURE – Regular examination and hygiene appointments are then all that is required to maintain the health of the mouth, teeth and implants.