Dental implants are artificial tooth roots, usually made of Titanium, which can be used to support anything from a single tooth to a full dentition.
They are mainly used for fixed teeth (non-removable crowns or bridges), but can also be used for removable bridgework or to secure a loose denture.
Dental implants stand alone, they are not reliant on other teeth, unlike tooth-supported bridges which are attached to natural teeth.
There are, however, “instant” treatments available such as “teeth in a day”, “immediate loading”, and “all on four”.
Titanium implants are predictable, highly successful, and long-lasting. They are not a new treatment, the first implants were done by Professor Branemark in 1965.
It is not necessary to have an implant for each missing tooth.
Single tooth replacement (where a tooth is beyond repair or already missing) would require a single implant.
2 implants will replace up to 6 teeth for fixed bridgework and a whole jaw for a removable bridge or for denture stabilisation.
3 implants will replace up to 10 teeth in fixed form or again a whole jaw of removable teeth.
Full jaw tooth replacement is commonly done using 4 implants (all on 4) but more implants may be preferable where this is possible.
Implant treatment can be done in both upper and lower jaws.
Fixed teeth on implants are robust and secure, they have less sensation than natural teeth, however.
As well as conventional sized implants, there are mini-implants which are used less frequently.
Implants are made of titanium metal, but you don’t get Titanium teeth. The teeth attached to the implants are highly aesthetic and function well.
The cost of implant treatment is generally similar to the cost of fixed bridgework on natural teeth to replace the same number of teeth.
Placement of dental implants can be quite quick. A single implant may be done in a 15-minute procedure. More complex treatments involving multiple implants will take longer.
There are other alternatives for multiple teeth replacement and also single tooth replacement options.