Advantages of implants:
When a tooth is lost because it was impossible to restore either due to trauma, gum disease or tooth decay, an implant can be the most elegant way to fill the gap. The advantage of an implant is that none of the neighbouring teeth need to be touched which for a bridge would be the case. The drawback is that the cost is higher compared to the bridge. The third way to fill a gap is with a denture but this is not comparable to a bridge or implant from the point of comfort.
We work closely together with the implantologist Marc Carbasse in Whitstable who takes care of the surgical phase of the implant process. Below is a short graphic animation of the process:
Normally you are ready for the implant insertion approximately 10 weeks after the extraction in order to let the socket heal adequately. The implant then needs to fuse to the jaw bone (osseointegration) which takes another 10 weeks. If the tooth in question is cosmetically visible you may opt to get through this period with the help of a small temporary denture. The immediate insertion of an implant after an extraction without the healing phases is almost always contra-indicated as it increases the failure rate. The after effects of the surgical insertion of the implant normally consists of no more than a few days of mild discomfort after which you will be unaware of the process of the osseointegration. Once the healing has been completed, we will take an impression of the implant and have the crown or bridge made onto it. The crown or bridge may be cemented or screwed into the implant with the latter being preferential but not always possible.
On the left photograph
below you can see the implant after the healing has taken place and is ready for the core build-up and the crown. The healing cap which has been in place during the last 10 weeks since the implant was inserted has been removed, showing healthy gum around the implant. On the right the crown is in place and the gap is filled beautifully.
The cost of the surgical phase of the implant is approximately £1300 but this figure may vary upwards if CT scans and/or bone augmentation are needed and may be lower if multiple implants are inserted at the same time. The cost of building the crown/bridge once the implant is in place is £1250 (per crown or bridge unit).
Implants are very reliable replacements for missing teeth but they will need to be looked after in a similar way as you would look after a natural tooth. Thorough but gentle brushing with a soft toothbrush and daily flossing and/or interdental brushing will make sure the surrounding gum and bone will stay healthy. Failing to take proper care can result in the bony support of the implant deteriorating as a result of the toxins of the
dental plaque (bacteria). This process is very similar to what gum disease can do to a natural tooth.