Dental Implants explained
When searching for a solution to replace missing teeth we are no longer just limited to dentures or partial dentures, there are now highly sophisticated dental implants. Dental implants can be used for a variety of situations:
- When missing a single front or back tooth
- When missing more than one tooth
- To replace an entire jaw of failed teeth or both upper and lowers jaws (All on 4)
- To replace removable dentures (All on 4)
- For denture stabilisation
- By using porcelain bridge supported onto two implants to replace multiple teeth
A dental implant replaces either a tooth that is already missing or a tooth that is failing and cannot be saved. Dental implants are only possible when there is enough good quality bone at the implant site to be able to securely hold onto the dental implant. The dental implant fully replaces the missing tooth and its root and are considered to be the closest alternatives to natural teeth. Dental implants have a long history (over 50 years!) of research, proving that they are a long-term, strong and aesthetic replacement for your natural teeth. These 50 year research papers are related to Nobel Biocare, the founders of both dental implants and the All on 4 ‘full mouth’ technique.
Unlike dental crowns and partial dentures, dental implants replace an independent tooth and do not rely on neighbouring natural teeth for support. As well as replacing the tooth, dental implants actually integrate with your jaw bone and create a similar loading to that of your natural teeth. This prevents the natural bone loss that occurs after a tooth has been extracted. This preservation of bone helps to maintain facial support, lip support and gum support. For single implant tooth replacement or multiple tooth (3-4) implant bridges, the dental implant screw will need to be placed approximately 3 months prior to the tooth (porcelain crown) being placed. This is due to the biological change called osseointegration that needs to take place in order for the implant to have long term success. This process is where the natural bone integrates with the dental implant and fuses together as one. This provides anchorage for the restored tooth, thus long term strength and function.
All On 4 Dental Implants
For the All-on-4 procedure, the teeth will be loaded onto the implants just 3 days after the implants are placed. This immediate loading is only possible due to the shared and even loading of the 4 implants. The implants are placed strategically to provide maximum strength, anchorage and to provide an even bite. If a tooth or multiple teeth have been missing for a long time then bone loss will have already occurred and the bone in the proposed implant site may already be missing. The level of your bone and eligibility for dental implants will be determined by a 3D bone scan and an oral exam. If Dental implants are not a suitable treatment or simply not possible then alternative options such as porcelain bridges or partial/full dentures can be considered.
For full mouth reconstructions using dental implants and the All on 4 technique, 4 dental implants are placed strategically into the jaw so that they can together support an entire jaw of 12 teeth. For people suffering from ill fitting dentures, chronic gum disease causing full mouth failure or when there is very little healthy tooth structure remaining, All on 4 treatment can place a full set of strong, functional and beautiful teeth in just 4 days. Using All on 4 dental implants instead of traditional dentures to replace a set of teeth can prevent bone loss, facial collapse and denture problems. They look function and feel like natural teeth and do not cover the palate.