Dental Implants

Replacement of missing teeth using dental implants

Dental implants are precision milled titanium screw-like devices, which are placed into the jawbone where a tooth/teeth are missing. As you are aware titanium can be milled by various manufacturers. As a result, different manufacturers will give you different quality of dental implants. At Cairn Brae Dental Practice, we use only the very best dental implants, and avoid the cheaper ranger of implants as evidence has shown that the cheaper implants suffer more bone loss over the years, and hence fail in the long term.

The dental implants used at Cairn Brae Dental Practice have been shown to actually stimulate bone formation when compared to other types of dental implants. It is also important to recognise that dental implants have a 95-98% 15-35 year lifespan. Although all of the above must take into account that the statistics and information may vary between clinicians and their individual skills.

A CT scan is more routinely recommended nowadays, to enable your dentist to accurately establish the available bone volume, to then carefully plan the placement of your dental implant. The CT scan is regarded as the ‘Blueprint” of the site for your surgeon to gain more information to plan your treatment.

The implant is then placed into position with the highest skill and precision into an exact angle and in all dimensions.

The implant is then allowed to remain in place for a period of around 3-6 months whilst a process called osseointegration takes place, where the bone surrounds and attaches itself to the implant, whilst holding it very firmly in place.

An implant abutment and crown is then seated into position and radiographs (x-rays) are taken to always confirm the precision of your entire treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants

Please find brief explanations to some of the questions we are often asked about dental implants:

What are Dental Implants?

The term "dental implant" refers to the titanium rod which is used to replace the root of a missing tooth and to provide a firm "anchor" for the placement of a dental crown. Implants are widely recognised as the best way to replace missing teeth.

How are Implants Done?

Following a consultation to assess your suitability, we will take x-rays and CT scans so that our implant dentist can see precisely where to place the implant. Using this information, the implant will be placed into the jawbone and then allowed to fuse with the surrounding bone in a natural process known as 'osseointegration' - this typically takes 3 - 4 months but sometimes up to 6 months.

As soon as the implant is firm, an 'abutment' or collar is fitted which forms a firm base for the placement of a dental crown. We will carefully check the final position and security of the implant after which you can start using the implant as you would a natural tooth.

Who is Suitable for Dental Implants?

The large majority of our patients are suitable for dental implants but with a few exceptions:

- teenagers typically below 17 years of age but dependent on when the jaw bone has finished growing

- where bone loss has been significant; however this can often be rectified with a bone graft

- for heavy smokers, implants are still possible but quitting either side of treatment will be required

In all cases, our implant dentist will advise at your personalised consultation.

How Long do Implants Last?

Following a successful procedure, implants can be expected to last for anywhere between 15 years and 35 years. Individual lifestyles and the physiological make-up of the patient are the determining factors.

How Much Does it Cost?

Our implants at Cairn Brae are very reasonably price and we always consider our patient budgets when prescribing treatment plans. Each case is unique and you will be advised accordingly by our implant dentist following your consultation and assessment.

When Can I have my Implants Done?

As you might expect, the implant process requires a high degree of skill and the experience of our implant dentist and consequently cannot be rushed. You will be called for an initial consultation and if suitable, provided with a treatment plan and cost. After this you may be called for further x-rays and/or a CT scan and soon afterwards, to have the implant placed. Thereafter, you will need to wait for the implant to fuse with the bone (3 - 6 months typically) before the final crown can be placed.

The main difference to this sequence would be where a patient requires a bone graft or needs periodontal treatment to resolve any gum disease before the implant can be placed.

What are Dental Implant Crowns?

A crown is a custom made restoration to replace one missing tooth. An implant abutment is specifically designed to fit into the implant. The crown is then custom made to fit onto the dental implant abutment. This then allows the tooth to be replaced.

What are Dental Implant Bridges?

Whilst an implant-supported crown is used to replace a single tooth, an implant-supported bridge is used to replace multiple missing teeth. In other words, two or more missing teeth are replaced by two or more crowns fused together to form a bridge which are supported by one or more dental implants.

What is the “Teeth in a Day” or “All on Four” Concept?

These concepts are designed for patients who wish to have dental implants placed and have the bridges fixed in place on the same day as implant placement. They are quite tricky to place as the dental implants have to be placed in exact positions, which are very much dependent on the amount of available bone to place the dental implants. The bridges may be made from acrylic or porcelain. These techniques are not always possible, but your dentist will consider all options for you.

What are Dental Implant Supported Dentures?

Dental implants can also be used in a similar manner as with bridges, to stabilise dentures. This is for patients who have financial limitations and want an interim solution to make their dentures more retentive. A minimum of 2 dental implants can sometimes be used to gain more retention of a denture. This is an excellent and affordable way to prevent dentures from becoming loose and causing discomfort and possible embarrassment. It is obvious to state that the denture would be better retained with the placement of a greater number of dental implants. Your dentist will clinically discuss the best option for you to consider.

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