Yes, it is entirely possible with modern restorative dentistry to replace teeth. These teeth don’t even have to be lost recently; you could replace a tooth that was lost 20 years ago.
It really is extraordinary to be at a point where a dentist can provide dental implants Harley Street.
Brief History of Dental Implants
This has not always been the case, however, one of the big factors which slowed down dental implants from becoming the norm was the sedation that was required to perform such surgery safely.
In the early days of dental implants (1910 to 1980), it was assumed that full sedation was necessary in order to perform dental implants; this kept them restricted to the operating theatres in hospitals and universities that taught dentistry.
At this point, it would be fairer to compare dental implanting to an experimental procedure that was only performed by the top dental researchers in a select few locations.
Another setback is the syllabus of your standard local dentists; implanting is not part of a dental degree. But with more dentists attending additional training after their standard dental degree in order to grasp the fundamentals to the implant technology, most dental surgeries will have at least one member of staff who is qualified to perform implants.
Making Dental Implants
The fabrication of dental implants in dental laboratories has also become commonplace and with the adoption of using digitised medical records, X-rays, and design specifications, biodata can easily be shared between the clinic and a dental laboratory.
The oral prosthetic which is fixed into the jaw by the implant follows many of the same design considerations as a crown, with enamel shade and translucency matching being a priority in order to result in seamless natural-looking results for the patient.
Treatment Time and Implantation Procedure
Over its development, the treatment time of implants has been progressively shortened, but it still takes 4 months in the best-case scenario for an implant to fully integrate into the jaw.
There is ongoing research into the use of possible drug therapies to increase the rate of bone growth to reduce this interval, allowing the loading of the implant where the prosthetic tooth is actually placed in the mouth to occur sooner.
Implants are very common with older patients who are more concerned about the success rate of their procedure rather than the length of the recovery time. The implant is securely held within the gum as it is integrating, minimising its disruption to the patient’s everyday activity.
The Future for Dental Implants
There is active work on the use of dental implants to immobilise dentures; the current industry standard is 5 equally placed implants, which has been shown to be effective in the vast majority of cases.
This has the advantage of reducing the cost to the patient whilst also simplifying the procedure. Whether dental implants become standard for an immobilised denture is yet to be seen, but is an exciting progression.
Another area of active research is the use of hormonal growth factors impregnated into the implant itself to encourage bone growth.