Using Dental Implants To Complete A ‘Gappy’ Smile

Missing teeth doesn’t necessarily mean dentures are your only option

dental implantTooth loss can happen for a number of reasons. These include neglect but also from the result of an accident such as a fall or a blow to the mouth. Especially if a front tooth is knocked out, or lost otherwise, it can have a distinct effect on our appearance and more often than not, we need to do something about it.

Any of our patients who are wondering what to do about their gappy smile would do well to look beyond dentures as the only available solution. It is true that modern dentures look reasonably realistic and have improved over the years, but they can’t match the stability of dental implants and if the denture starts to move around when we are talking to someone, it could cause some embarrassment.

Why dental implants?

The reason that we feel that teeth implants are often the best option available for patients of The Dental Centre Bedford is because they are not only very strong and secure in the mouth, but also last for a long time. Indeed, the first ever implant placed was still intact 40 years later when the recipient passed away. You can probably deduce from this that the 20 years of longevity that we suggest as an average for dental implants, providing that they are looked after correctly, is probably a conservative estimate and many will last even longer than that.

For most patients; even though the initial procedure is a fairly complex one, the biggest advantage is that it allows them to eat, speak and laugh normally without concerns about stability. No special cleaning beyond what you should do with your own natural teeth is needed too.

Prior to your treatment

To place a tooth implant, we first of all have to determine if there is sufficient jaw bone to accommodate it. This is determined through the use of x-rays and scans. Whilst a healthy mouth should ensure that this is the case, bone loss can occur for a number of reasons including old age, periodontal disease and where the bone has been damaged if a tooth has been knocked out. It can also occur if a tooth has been missing for a while as the minerals which make up the bone in that area are reabsorbed by the body.

In most cases, there will be sufficient bone structure but in cases where there isn’t, we can discuss options such as bone grafts which will allow the implant to be placed. Finally, because periodontal diseases pose a real threat to implants, it is essential that we make sure that your mouth is healthy and free of gum disease. Once we are happy with this, the procedure can begin.

The dental implant procedure

Initially, we will scan your mouth to determine the exact position of the implant placement. This is important not only to correctly position it but to avoid coming into contact with nerves located in the jawbone. You will then be given a local anaesthetic to minimise any discomfort. Using a precision drill, a small hole will then be made in the area where the implant is to be placed into the bone. This might sound a little scary but you shouldn’t experience any significant discomfort. Into this hole, your new dental implant will be placed and then gently screwed into position. This is your new implant which essentially replicates the natural root of a tooth.

The next three months or so are critical for your new implant and great care should be taken not to damage it. We will provide full information during your consultation but during this time, you will need to eat softer foods and even liquid ones initially.

During this period, the bone into which the implant has been placed starts to grow around and bond with the implant (a process known as osseointegration) until it is, in essence, a part of it. Once this process has completed, the implant will be firmly and securely fused with the bone and provides an incredibly strong ‘anchor’ onto which the rest of the tooth can be added.

The next step is to add an abutment. This is a small piece of metal which is attached to the dental implant and onto which a dental crown is finally attached. The crown will be made so that it matches your natural teeth in both shade and appearance so that it blends in naturally.

This completes the treatment and instead of a gap between your teeth, you can now smile and eat with every confidence that you have a natural looking and feeling tooth and a smile you can be proud of once more!

We are sure that some of you will have questions about the procedure, and the team at The Dental Centre Bedford are always happy to answer any questions that you might have. An ideal place to do this is at an initial dental implant consultation. You can arrange to have one at our local, convenient clinic by calling our team on 01234 819868.