Dental implants have become a routine treatment in UK dental practices to replace missing teeth, with an increased number of patients requesting them in the last 15 years. Prior to dental implants dentists had only two options available to them when replacing missing teeth, these were dental bridges and dentures.
Replacing a missing tooth with a dental bridge requires that you file down the teeth beside the space or gap in order to crown those teeth. This will allow for the crown of the missing tooth to be held firmly in place. In some cases, the teeth beside the missing tooth do not have any fillings or restoration and are known as ‘virgin’ teeth. Patients and dentists prefer not to file down these teeth. Today with a dental implant we can provide patients with good oral health a new tooth, without touching the virgin teeth.
Dentures, also known as false teeth are considered inconvenient as they are removable and in general patients would prefer a fixed option.
Dental implants will be the best treatment option to replace missing teeth or teeth that for various reasons need to be extracted. It is important to have a full assessment in order to evaluate the teeth, gums, oral health and habits that each individual has at the time of making the decision of having one or more dental implants. Planning is the route to success and some patients will be ready immediately to go ahead with treatment while others may need some treatment of the gums before going ahead with implants.
It is vital that after receiving one or more dental implants patients must follow the practice after care and hygiene protocol; doing this and visiting the hygienist regularly will maintain healthy gums and bone surrounding the implants. This is very important for long term maintenance of the dental implants.
Some people will argue why not leave the gap of a missing tooth?
When a tooth is lost the teeth beside the gap could start moving, rotating or leaning and the opposed teeth can over or under erupt with changes in the bite. In addition to this, future problems can also arise with those teeth that have been displaced.
I hope this information has been helpful. If you want more information on dental implants please visit us at the practice and we will be delighted to see you.
By Pablo Lobato BDS (Madrid) MSc Endodontics