Dental Implants available in our Shrewsbury and Stafford clinics
A dental implant is a small man-made titanium fixture that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. The implant is placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw and allowed to bond with the bone, serving as an anchor for the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used to replace a single lost tooth or many missing teeth. Implant supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth.
Usually, the dental implant is restored permanently several weeks after being placed. A temporary replacement tooth can be provided when required, such as for front teeth, where appearance is important. Permanent restorations can be in the form of crowns, bridges or dentures. They are custom made and secured onto permanent abutments with either screws or cement or other attachments.
Dental implants are a proven restorative option with a long clinical history. They preserve the integrity of the facial structure and reduce the inconvenience associated with tooth loss.
Sometimes there may not be enough bone in the space where the implant is to be placed. In these cases, bone grafting can be carried out. Implants are a highly successful and predictable form of treatment, with reported ten-year survival rates in excess of 95%. One of the key factors in success is the initial integration into the bone.
What is Osseointegration?
Osseointegration is the name given to the biological process of bone attaching to the surface of an implant. Implant surfaces are made in such a way that, given time, bone can grow onto the surface of the implant, thus rigidly securing it. This is much the same process by which bone heals itself when it is broken.
Bone is constantly being repaired with some bone being broken down at the same time as new bone grows, which is how the bone can respond to changes in function and damage. The growth of new bone is a delicate process which is easily disrupted – For example, if a bone in the arm is broken, the arm is put in plaster to keep the bone stable to allow the delicate process of repair to work. Much the same thing happens with an implant – If the implant were to move in the bone, then new bone would not be able to attach and thus the implant would not be fixed in the bone. It is for this reason that there is typically a delay of about 2 months (this varies with circumstance) before using the implant to support teeth. In some specific cases, it may be possible to use the increased stability of newer implant designs to put a temporary tooth back immediately following implant placement.
How long will my implant last?
One of the main questions we get asked is “How long does an implant last?”, which is not an easy question to answer. However, how well you look after your implants at home is one of the main factors to help with the long-term success. Whilst there may be special techniques for some implants, the process is much the same as looking after your natural teeth. We will offer you advice and support on how best to look after your dental implants long term, and we have highly experienced hygienists that are able to see you for regular oral health appointments.
Implants rarely break and there are many cases of implants lasting decades. The teeth supported on the implants may need replacing over time, particularly in the case of dentures, but this again depends on usage.