Single-tooth implants can be used in people who are missing one or more teeth. An implant is surgically placed into the jawbone. After the bone fuses to the implant (known as osseointegration), it acts as a new "root" upon which a crown (cap) will be fitted to replace your missing tooth. The single implant may sometimes be restored immediately with a temporary crown on the day of surgery, however should the dentist be concerned about healing, the temporary or final crown is fitted a short while after the surgery (three weeks to four months). Single implants look and feel like natural teeth and if well cared for, may last for decades.
Single implant restorations are now the treatment of choice when one tooth is missing as it does not involve preparing the adjacent teeth to support a conventional bridge, which is quite damaging.
If you're missing two or more teeth and a conventional bridge is deemed too destructive to the surrounding teeth, an implant supported bridge may be recommended by your dentist.
Sometimes called a fixed partial denture, an implant supported bridge replaces multiple missing teeth with artificial natural looking teeth and literally bridges the gap. The restoration can be made from various materials, the ideal choice depending upon the clinical situation.
Unlike a removable bridge, which you can take out and clean, a fixed implant bridge cannot be removed (except by your dentist for maintenance work). Its success depends on a strong foundation. So it's very important to maintain your dental health by keeping your mouth clean and attend regular check-ups with your dentist.
When all teeth are missing or in such condition that they need to be replaced, your dentist may advise using dental implants to support full fixed or removable bridges. Implant restorations are now not considered to be a new treatment option. There has been a significant amount of research in this field to prove that well planned and carefully performed treatment may give long term functional and aesthetic results and improve patients quality of life.
Dental implants may be used to secure dentures to stop them moving, giving the patient the confidence to socialise and laugh freely. Two to four implants are normally used to achieve this. Four or more implants in either jaw may also be used to provide a solid foundation for fixed bridges. It is frequently possible to insert an immediate temporary fixed bridge on the day of surgery in full jaw cases.
Dental implants provide several advantages over conventional dentures. In addition to looking and functioning like natural teeth, implant-supported full fixed bridges or dentures are also more comfortable and stable than conventional dentures, allowing you to retain a more natural biting and chewing capacity. Many academics now consider two dental implants to support a lower denture as the minimum standard of care for edentulous patients.
Those who have lost all of their teeth — or are soon to have their last, failing teeth removed — have several options for tooth replacement. One of the most advanced and reliable techniques is to permanently attach lifelike prosthetic (new replacement) teeth to dental implants that are anchored in the jawbone, without needing a dental implant for each and every one of your missing teeth.
All-on-Four or Pro-Arch treatments have developed over the last decade. Four precisely placed implants are inserted into either jaw and an immediate temporary bridge is secured onto the implants on the same day. This gives the patient the ability to function normally, meaning that you do not have to wear a removable denture during the healing phase. Once the bone fuses to the implants (known as osseointegration), impressions are taken and a new bridge is constructed using CAD/CAM.
If looked after, the procedure will provide a long lasting restoration to replace your missing teeth.