“Teeth in an hour” – immediate implant technique

Is it possible to walk into a dental clinic and have all your old broken, unsightly teeth replaced with shiny white new ones supported by titanium implants all on the same day?

The answer is yes in many cases – providing the case has been prepared carefully in advance.

Over in the States ‘immediate implants’ (also known as ‘teeth in an hour’) are becoming commonplace, and this technique has been available for about 10 years or so.

Here in the UK we tend to take a rather more cautious approach to our dental implant treatment so a number of us have been waiting on the sidelines to see what the outcome of these more radical treatments was going to be…. In other words, “will it work long term?”

The answer is yes once again.

We now have enough long term data (over 5 yrs) to convince even the more conservative of us that;

  • immediate implant teeth work in the long term
  • in some cases doing it this way can improve the aesthetic outcome
  • this method can significantly reduce bone the bone shrinkage which occurs when teeth are extracted.
  • the immediate implant technique can be used on single, multiple or full mouth cases

So there it is. Viable and better, in many cases.

Once again, as with ‘Painless Injections’ the future has arrived, all you need is comprehensive surgical training, advanced surgical equipment, and an open mind…..for the dentist, that is. Our patients are often the people who inspire us to strive to give them these gold standards of dental treatment.

No one mention drive through dentistry though, or it’ll be time to hang up the rubber gloves.

Dental Bridges have had their day.

Did you know that dental bridges have been around for over a century?

Now I’m not one to decry something simply because its getting old – for example, I do love old cars (as friends will testify!), but how many of us would drive a 100 year old car as everyday transport? Wouldn’t that be uneconomic, wouldn’t it damage the environment?

Just like having dental bridges fitted, as it turns out.

cars

The costs add up

The problem is, a bridge relies totally on the teeth either side for its support, and those teeth have to be drilled down to pegs would you believe.

So, installing the dental bridge actually weakens the adjoining teeth, and then to add insult to injury, the bridge leans on them for the rest of its life…..the dental bridge is ‘parasitic’. Bad for its environment.

The extra loads that that bridge imparts means those teeth are much more likely to fail in the long term……a single tooth loss leads to having 2 or 3 teeth missing…the long term costs go up.

Hardly an elegant modern solution

People should also know that with a bridge, the bone and gum underneath continues to shrink slowly over time.

At best this leaves a ‘dip’ in the gum above the bridge tooth and at worst a black hole (gap) appears so that everyone you smile at knows exactly where your false tooth is!

Dental Implants are the answer

The humble dental implant solves all these issues: It stands alone without interfering with its neighbours.

Over and above that, our bone loves the titanium surface of an implant tooth – and once an implant is inserted under the gum and into the bone, then the bone will not shrink like it does with a bridge.

The aesthetic and cost implications of implant teeth are just too good to ignore.

Let us retire the bridge, and give it the rest it deserves.

Never too old for Dental Implants, or the Internet!

I love this.

Earlier this year, when we considered refreshing the Winning Smiles website, we wondered just how many people in our local areas of Romford and Brentwood (or our wider audience in Essex, London and Herts) would be using the Internet to look for implant and orthodontic dentists?

But when I discovered my aunt had been researching a new camera on the internet (I thought email was new to her) I knew that this electronic communicating thingumy was taking off!

So, a month or so in and we’re still on progress with the new site – click to leave a comment if you would like?, but recently we also had a visit from an 80 year old patient for a Dental Implant.

Here’s how it worked out by the way (click to enlarge)

When I asked him about Yellow Pages, he said that he used it as a doorstop, and he used the Internet for everything! To be fair to yellow pages, we do get quite a number of visitors from their Yellow Pages online site.

But that’s progress for you (the site and the implant).

Lower dentures are utterly useless

I well remember my first denture lecture as a keen young trainee: The denture-department head stood up in front of us at the top of Guy’s Tower and said:

Before I begin, don’t you lot ever forget one thing: dentures are only ever better than nothing at all!“.

And this from the head of the Prosthetics dept. (the top specialist in false teeth – ed.)

Lower full dentures are bottom of the barrell.

With the tongue muscles getting in the way the poor old lower denture hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of staying put. Meanwhile the patient struggles to speak and eat while it jumps around in the mouth with a life of its own.

Patients can’t eat solid food, they can’t speak for embarrassment, and often the movement of the denture causes friction-sores on the gum. What utter misery.

What’s more, there is absolutely nothing the concerned practitioner can do about it. Try as he might, adjusting adjusting adjusting, remaking, relining and rebasing – it just won’t fix it.

Miserable patient, miserable dentist.

But aren’t the alternatives too expensive?

Not necessarily. Enter the well proven implant-retained-denture.

Essentially the patient’s own denture can be modified with special fixings which then attach to 2 or 4 implants inserted in the lower jaw. The real beauty of this method is that it keeps the cost right down. There is no expensive bridgework and only 2 or 4 implants are required to hold that denture right where it is needed.

Implants for dentures

The treatment costs a fraction of implant-bridge treatment where up to 6 implants may be required, (coupled to 10 or 12 porcelain bridge units bonded to a metal framework.)

The implant retained denture can be removed for cleaning, but when placed in the mouth it is fixed solidly. This method can also be used in the upper jaw but more implants are required – but it’s not as great a problem as these useless lower dentures.

I’m sure that patients should rather be worrying about where to go out to eat!

Smile transformation creates emotional journeys

The stress and worry during a complex dental case isn’t only felt by the patient – as all sorts of pressures, not least that of expectation, can fall directly on your friendly dentist’s shoulders.

But its worth it!

As a cosmetic and implant dentist, the greatest feeling in the world is when a mouth has been transformed and a person smiles for the first time with their new teeth.

The first reaction is revealed in the eyes – as bright as the north star, sometimes with tears, sometimes laughter and occasionally a stunned silence. But always there is a sincere joy at the lifting of that invisible veil of self-consciousness.

These are the jewels in my working life.

Nothing compares.

Not all dental implants are created equal

The field of dental implantology is in its youth. The first implants were put in only 25 or so years ago – and many of them are still giving good service to this day.

But being a relatively new treatment (compared to say, fillings which have been around since the turn of the century) implant treatment methods and component construction is moving fast. Just like any other technology it is up to the implantologist to keep up with current developments.

This generally means looking at methods and systems that have been around at least a few years to ensure that they are well proven. The responsible implantologist would not use his patients as guinea pigs!

Again, as with other emerging sciences, implant systems get out of date….they can still be purchased, and in most cases they will still function. But how do they look?
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