What are they?
These small titanium implants are often described as screws or posts which are inserted into the jaw using a small dental drill. These small posts provide a stable base for tooth replacements or replenishments whilst also encouraging healthy bone growth surrounding the post. In some cases, where the jaw bone is compromised or a sufficient amount of bone is not available then an alternative such as the cheekbone may be used. Whether suffering from the loss of a single tooth or multiple teeth, this creative and effective treatment enables patients to complete their smile once more and maintain a healthy appearance overall.
Once it has been decided that dental implants are the best way forward, a local anaesthetic will be applied to the surrounding area and the post inserted into the jaw bone. In most cases, a temporary crown or bridge will be attached to the implant whilst the area heals from the procedure. After some healing has occurred the permanent tooth replacement will be matched to blend in with the surrounding teeth. The idea is to be as natural-looking in both feel and appearance as possible so as to help lift and encourage the individuals self-esteem.
Whilst this may sound like a rather invasive procedure, it is far from it and one that is carried out under a local anaesthetic on a daily basis by dentists across the world.
Why replace or replenish missing teeth?
When tooth loss occurs as an older child or adult, whether through accidental damage or years of an inadequate oral hygiene routine, replacing or replenishing the teeth is much more than solving the cosmetic appearance of the smile. Whilst many people believe the loss of a tooth is no big deal, it can actually impact a variety of other aspects of your oral hygiene and in time cause the jaw bone to recede creating a physical ‘sunken’ appearance to the face. The gap where the tooth was may seem inconsequential but the impact of it missing is one of great importance and something that can be avoided by having this simple procedure. For instance, when the gap occurs, an infection can take hold and whilst may begin in the localised area can quickly spread affecting the gums and teeth and risking further tooth loss. In addition to this, once a gap forms the surrounding teeth often shift position as the support from the tooth or teeth disappears and therefore alignment problems can begin to occur causing further dental damage down the road.
Are implants available on the NHS?
Whilst this particular tooth replenishment method is continuing to grow in popularity, there are other less cosmetically pleasing solutions to tooth loss and therefore in most cases, this procedure is not available via the NHS. It is always important to discuss the options available with the dental practice as whilst the NHS may not cover the cost of implants, there are often payment plans available and therefore financially there may be a solution to assist.