Dental Implants Q&A
Additional frequently asked dental implant questions answered
When applied to a patient’s upper jaw, the same procedure tends to entail a higher number of implants as the bone is usually softer. Although, like conventional dentures, implant-supported overdentures are still removed for daily cleaning, the implants make them far more stable once they are back in the patient’s mouth.
There are many options available to dental implant patients, and each individual case can be treated in various ways. As dental implant specialists in Cheltenham, we are here if you would like us to examine you and discuss your options with you.
It would be easy to focus on the glamorous cosmetic appeal of dental implants, but it’s important to remember that basic dental health, including treatment of gum disease, repair of decay and the elimination of abscesses, are equally vital to a patient’s treatment in the long run.
If you have noticed that you have bad breath, loose teeth or excessive bleeding after brushing, especially when your teeth are cleaned by your dentist, it is possible that you have periodontal (gum) disease. Dental implant treatment in the presence of reduced bone can be problematic, and as gum disease is a major cause of bone loss, it is important to treat this issue before receiving dental implants.
Another cause of bone loss is dentures. Patients often complain of loose dentures after they have had them for a while, and the aforementioned increased rate of bone loss following extractions is usually the cause of this initial problem. In the long term, however, the gradual loss of supporting bone is caused by chewing. After many years of having dentures, patients will require a reline procedure to compensate for this problem, so the longer a patient wears dentures, the less bone will be available for dental implants.
Many patients suffer from teeth grinding or clenching (a condition known as bruxism) which can cause them to exert too much pressure on their dental implants – and as this tends to happen at night, they have little control over this subconscious habit. Dentists can combat the detrimental effect of teeth grinding by placing additional dental implants, using restorative materials and equipping the sufferer with a bite guard to protect their new teeth at night.
It is not always the case that dental implant failures are this easy to deal with, and while the majority of dentists strive to achieve failure rates below 5%, this still means that around one in 20 dental implants may not achieve long-term function. It is wise to discuss the impact that a failed dental implant may have on your treatment plan, and we welcome you to book an appointment to visit us at our Cheltenham practice if you have such concerns..
The quality of the surrounding bone and the quantity and position of the implants will affect which option will suit each patient. When we link implant-supported teeth, they are more robust than the individual parts and are more effective at resisting the forces of normal function that attempt to loosen the screw components, posts and/or cements that secure the underlying structure to each dental implant.
The most important anatomical structure to avoid in the lower jaw is a nerve known as the inferior dental nerve which runs from the area behind the wisdom teeth through to where your pre-molar teeth are (or once were).
There tends to be some minor swelling and bruising post-operation, but most patients will just require some standard painkillers for a few days to keep the discomfort at bay. If you feel that you are in considerable discomfort despite the painkillers, please contact us at our Cheltenham practice.
Employing a procedure known as sinus augmentation, it is possible to boost the height of available bone in the upper jaw above the back teeth by creating new bone in the sinus. This technique provides implants for patients who would otherwise be unable to have them in a part of the mouth where teeth are so often missing.
Onlay grafting is a simple concept that involves taking a piece of bone from another part of the body and applying it as an ‘onlay graft’ to a deficient area. Over time, once the bone has successfully joined to the underlying region and has healed and matured, a dental implant can be placed in a more favourable position.
There are numerous ways of generating new bone, but one of the most common methods used today is ‘guided tissue regeneration’. It allows slow-moving bone cells time to fill a space by placing a barrier material between them and the fast-moving cells of the soft tissues lining the mouth. Originally the technique involved having to remove the barrier material during a separate surgical stage a few months later, but these days it is more typical to employ a resorbable barrier, which disappears naturally a few months later once it has performed its function.
There are ways of shortening the length of treatment where bone grafting is used. For instance, a dentist may choose to perform the implant placement with bone grafting and the placement of a barrier membrane simultaneously. However, many surgeons still like to keep the bone grafting as a discrete stage, ensuring that the implants are only fitted once the bone grafting is deemed a success. Whatever approach is used by the dentist to maximise the bone quantity, it is usually well worth the time, energy and expense.