Single Implants Compared to “All on 4”

Tooth replacement in Harley Street – Your Options Using Implants

Losing a tooth or needing a number of teeth to be extracted can have a major effect on both our appearance and our ability to eat a wide range of foods comfortably and efficiently. In the past, the only real options available were to either accept the missing teeth or to have dentures to replace them.

In recent years though, at our central London dental practice in Harley Street, a more recent innovation has become increasingly popular and is likely to overtake the use of dentures in years to come.

This innovation is the dental implant which is essentially a β€˜false tooth root’ which is made from titanium and is screwed into the jawbone; this provides a strong foundation onto which a crown can be added. Titanium is used as it is the only metal which encourages the bone to grow around it in a process known as osseointegration; this gives the extra benefit of making it more secure and is an almost certain guarantee that it will not come out.

Once the implant has been placed, it is left for a period of up to three months to allow the osseointegration process to happen before the crown is attached. Once this has been done, the patient is left with an extremely strong tooth which should last for a minimum of twenty years and in many cases, a great deal longer.

This is a great replacement for a lost tooth or two, but what about when a full arch of teeth need replacing or most of them? Of course, it is possible to replace each lost tooth with a dental implant but this rarely happens for two very good reasons. Firstly, dental implants are not a cheap option and to replace a whole arch would be beyond the means of a lot of people. Secondly, to do this would be very invasive and the healing period would be lengthy.

Dental implants however can be used in cases such as this in a process called β€˜all on 4’. This process involves the placing of just 4 dental implants into the arch; two at the front which are standard dental implants and two at the rear which are of a special design. The two at the rear are placed at a carefully calculated angle which gives them additional stability. Once these have been placed, unlike with individual implants, there is no need to wait for the integration period and a fixed bridge is then usually attached, with the implants holding it firmly in place. This procedure has the great benefit of allowing a full arch of teeth to be replaced in just one day. Naturally, caution should be taken once it has been fitted regarding the food that is eaten and softer foods should be eaten for a while to prevent discomfort and potential damage.

If cases where a few teeth need to be extracted to complete the full arch, it is in some cases also possible to place the implants directly into the sockets of the recently removed teeth.

If you feel that you might benefit from having dental implants placed, why not contact us at our Harley Street practice and arrange a consultation with one of our dentists to discuss this.

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