There are several effective treatment options to replace missing teeth.
We offer multiple effective options which can suit a variety of individual needs and situations; making treatment more accessible than ever before.
Our most common treatments for missing teeth include:
- Dental implants: Small titanium tooth roots surgically inserted into your jaw. The dental implant eventually fuses with your jawbone as it heals. This forms a durable tooth root alternative which will re-establish the connection lost by the missing tooth; stimulating the jawbone and the gum line to keep them alive and healthy. An abutment covered by a strong prosthetic tooth, such as a dental crown is then placed on top of the implant. For this reason, this is the most ideal treatment for missing teeth.
- Dental bridges: A row of artificial teeth, which can replace a single tooth or multiple missing teeth by being cemented onto the remaining teeth on either side.
- Dentures: An entire row of artificial teeth that are removable and attached to the upper or lower jaw.
As you can see, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t delay treatment when you experience tooth loss.
A dental implant is a surgical fixture that is placed into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over the span of a few months. The dental implant acts as a replacement for the root of a missing tooth. In turn, this “artificial tooth root” serves to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Having a dental implant fused to the jawbone is the closest thing to mimicking a natural tooth because it stands on its own without affecting the nearby teeth and has great stability. The process of fusion between the dental implant and jawbone is called “osseointegration.” Most dental implants are made of titanium, which allows them to integrate with bone without being recognized as a foreign object in our body. Over time, technology and science have progressed to greatly improve the outcomes of dental implant placement. Today, the success rate for dental implants is close to 98%.
The stages of implant therapy
After discussing the treatment options that are suitable for you, your dentist or periodontist will conduct a thorough physical examination of your mouth and will take x-rays and/or a cone bean computed tomography (CBCT) scan of your jaws to assess the shape and condition of your bone tissue and locate the positions of important structures – such as nerves and sinuses – which may be close to the intended implant site. This allows the dentist to plan exactly how the implants will be placed. Sometimes ordinary x-rays are not enough and a CBCT scan may be used to provide three-dimensional images if bone reconstruction procedures are needed to develop bone prior to implant placement.
- Insertion of implants
Implant surgery can be carried out in one or two stages, depending on your specific circumstances. In both cases, the surgery involves making a small incision in the gum to expose the bone and then using special drills to prepare the implant “bed” into which implants are inserted.
- (a) One-stage procedure: the implant is fitted into the prepared bone and then an attachment called a healing cap, which protrudes through the gum, is placed over it. This healing cap is removed once healing has been completed (two to six months) and replaced with a permanent attachment called an abutment. The replacement tooth – the crown – is cemented or screwed into its place over the abutment.
- (b) Two-stage procedure: a cover screw is placed on the top of the implant and the gum is sutured (stitched) over it for the period of healing. A second procedure is needed to uncover the implant (via a small incision in the gum) and attach the healing cap. Then, once the gums have healed (usually after four to six weeks), the healing cap is removed and replaced by the abutment, in readiness for the new crown.
Two-stage surgery may be necessary if there is a need to increase the quantity of bone at the implant site by using a bone graft or a technique to regenerate bone. There are various reasons why there might be a lack of bone at the implant site, including long-term missing teeth, denture wear, and bone loss from periodontal disease, ageing, or following trauma. When teeth are missing, the surrounding gum and underlying bone shrink away over time.
Preparation of teeth and impression
When your gums have fully healed (after about four to six weeks), your dentist will take a new impression of your mouth. This will be used to make a model of your teeth on which the dental technician will construct your crown or bridge, taking care to achieve a natural finish that matches the rest of your teeth.
- Fitting of crowns or bridges
When your new crowns and bridges have been prepared, your dentist will cement or screw them onto the abutments over the dental implants, check that they fit well and look good, and check that your upper and lower teeth work together comfortably when you bite. You will usually need to return for several review appointments to make sure that the implants are stable and functioning well, and that you are completely happy with the finished result.
- Bone grafts and bone regeneration
In some cases, bone grafts or bone regeneration are needed to prepare the jawbone to be able to support the implant.