When you first meet someone, one of the first thing we notice is their smile. This is not because we are specifically seeking it out, it is unavoidable. Because of this, smiles can have a dramatic impact on the way that others perceive us.
Your teeth are the only part of the body that do not have the ability to repair themselves so investing time and effort in looking after your teeth can have lasting effects for your future oral health. It is important that you put in place an effective oral hygiene routine. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste and using interdental cleaning aids, such as brushes or floss, daily. You can also look at lifestyle factors that can affect your oral health, these include smoking, a high sugar diet or a diet high in acids.
Unfortunately, even with the best routines, there may come a point where one or several of your teeth may become damaged beyond repair and may therefore need to be extracted. Fortunately, in recent years there have been great advances in cosmetic dentistry, meaning there are now several ways in which you can restore your smile to its former glory! The most popular of these are dental implants.
Am I suitable?
Not everyone can have dental implants fitted. Prior to any treatment the dentist will need to perform an assessment of your teeth and gums. They will also take x-rays to determine the health of your jaw bone.
If there is insufficient bone or the bone is not healthy enough, it may be necessary to undergo a bone graft before dental implant treatment can be considered.
Once fitted, your dental implant will halt the changes to your jawbone. It will serve to support the bone, as well as provide you with a permanent replacement tooth with which to eat. The muscles in your cheeks will also be supported, meaning you won’t suffer from the wrinkling that occurs around the lips with traditional dentures, prematurely ageing the face.
How is a dental implant fitted?
The dental implant is a titanium screw that is placed in the jawbone. This is normally done using a local anaesthetic, but treatment under sedation can be arranged if you are a nervous patient. The dental implant will be left to heal for 3-4 months, this gives the bone time to grow around the implant securing it in place. Once healed a crown, bridge or denture will be placed on top of the dental implant, depending on the number of teeth to be replaced.
To the casual observer, you’ll appear to have a full set of teeth once again and as for you, you’ll feel as if you have your natural teeth back. Your dental implants will look like your original teeth and feel like actual teeth when you use them to bite and chew. With as few as six implants, you can restore a mouth empty of teeth to its former glory, using bridges and dentures.
How do I care for my dental implant?
You can care for your dental implants in the same way as your natural teeth. Your dental team will give you detailed advice on how to look after your implants. Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. However, there may be areas that are difficult to reach, and you’ll be shown how to clean them. With a thorough oral hygiene routine and regular, routine dental appointments your dental implants should last at least 10 years.