Types of dental implants

Dental implants are a long-term solution to replace one or more missing teeth. Losing a tooth or teeth can affect the way you talk, eat and even the way you look. Plus, your self-confidence can take a real knock.

Implants are often used as an alternative to traditional bridges or dentures, but they can also support a single crown, bridge or dentures, so they offer a solution whether you’re missing one or many teeth. Below are the different types of implant solution you might be recommended depending on your individual needs:

Single and multiple implants

A dental implant is a titanium screw that replaces a missing tooth root. It’s directly placed into the jawbone, meaning the implant gradually fuses with the bone surrounding it. This keeps the implant secure. Once it’s healed, your replacement tooth (which is matched to the rest of your natural teeth) can then be placed on top. The diagram shows how an implant is fixed into your jawbone.

It usually takes between four and nine months to have implant treatment, depending on whether any preparation work is needed. This is because it takes time for the implant to fuse with the jawbone, which keeps the implant fixed in place.

You can also have multiple implants, but if you have lots of missing or failing teeth in a row, you may be offered another solution such as an implant-supported bridge or denture.

More about dental implants

Implant-supported bridges

Implant-supported bridges are sometimes recommended to restore multiple missing or failing teeth in a row. They’re an alternative to individual implants or traditional bridges.

Traditional bridges consist of a replacement tooth or teeth, usually with crowns on either end, which are anchored to your existing teeth on either side of the gap. With traditional bridges, your dentist may need to cut into healthy teeth either side of your missing teeth. They also don’t prevent bone loss, which commonly happens when you lose a tooth.

With an implant-supported bridge, implants are first placed into the jawbone. Once the implants have fused with the bone, abutment posts are then attached to the implant. After a further healing period, the bridge is placed on top of the implants which secures the solution in place.

Treatment time usually takes four or five months but varies from one person to another. You may need some supporting treatment done before you have an implant-supported bridge, such as a bone graft. If this is needed, your treatment may take longer, possibly between six and eight months.

Implant-retained dentures

Sometimes called implant-supported dentures or ‘clip in’ dentures, these are replacement teeth carried on an acrylic base, attached to dental implants. Implant-retained dentures are a solution if you don’t have many natural teeth left, but you do have enough bone to support implants.

Usually, the dentures are fitted with a bar that clips onto your implants. You can still take the denture in and out for cleaning, but it’s more secure than a standard removable denture because of the way they’re clipped on. This means they’re less likely to move around in your mouth and there’s less risk of them falling out when you talk or laugh.

Treatment time for implant-retained dentures is usually between four and seven months but varies depending on your individual needs. First, you’ll have the implants placed and then you’ll need to wait a few months for the implant to heal. During that time, you’ll be given a temporary denture, or you can wear your existing ones if you already have some that are in good condition.

Smile in a day treatment

Sometimes known as teeth in a day or full mouth dental implants, the smile in a day technique is often used for people with little or no teeth and involves replacing missing or failing teeth using a full set of implants, usually in one day. It’s an alternative to having multiple dental implants or a removable denture.

During the procedure, a set of four to six dental implants replace a whole arch of missing teeth. Temporary teeth are attached to the implants, and it’s usually replaced three or four months later with your permanent teeth.

Interested in dental implant treatment?

If you’re interested in having implants placed, get in touch with your local Bupa implant dentist to talk through your options. They’ll help you find the best solution for you.

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More about dental implants

Find out more about implants, including the benefits of implants and whether you might be suitable for implant treatment.

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