Dental implants for denture stabilisation: a guide

If you are reading this whilst struggling with loose-fitting dentures, dental implants could bring an end to your denture woes. At Orpington Dental Care we recommend using implants to stabilise your dentures, to ensure you enjoy an excellent quality of life without any fear of your teeth slipping or sliding away.

dental-implants-orpingtonModern dentures are much more comfortable, realistic, and functional than their predecessors. However, a lot of denture-wearers still have to come back to visit their dentist on a semi-regular basis in order to have their dentures relined or otherwise adjusted, because they find that their false teeth that fitted so well in the beginning keep getting loose, unwieldy, and uncomfortable over time.

Loose dentures can cause all manner of problems. These include:

  • Difficulty eating anything but soft foods/liquids, restricting your diet and limiting your nutrition
  • Difficulty in speaking clearly
  • Hobbies such as singing becoming impossible
  • Constant fear of your teeth falling our devastating your self-esteem and putting an end to your social life
  • Never smiling in photographs because you think your teeth look obviously false/loose
  • Sore or bleeding gums caused by your dentures rubbing them

Dental implants can help with all of these issues and more. They are artificial titanium tooth roots that your dentist will place in direct contact with your jaw bone, using either local anaesthetic or conscious sedation here at our Orpington clinic.

Your dentures will be attached to abutments on top of your implants. Whilst you will still be able to remove your denture for cleaning if you wish, they will otherwise stay exactly where they should be, enabling you to eat what you like, speak clearly, smile, sing, and socialise with new-found confidence.

Dental implants also address other problems caused by shrinkage of the jaw bone. These include changes to your facial structure, lips, and skin around the face and jowls, all of which can give you a prematurely aged look.

With proper care, your dental implants and the dentures attached to them should last you for many years – often for the rest of your life.

Could dental implants be the perfect solution to your tooth loss?

With dental implants, a dentist has a realistic and permanent way to replace your missing teeth. Any dentist will always stress the importance of replacing missing teeth one way or another, for the sake of your general as well as your oral health. At Orpington Dental Care we believe that, more often than note, dental implants are the perfect solution to tooth loss.

dental-implants-orpingtonWhat are dental implants?

Dental implants are permanent replacements for the root portions of any lost teeth. They are small titanium screws or posts that your dentist will place directly into your jaw bone. After a healing period, which is typically about three months, permanent new teeth will be attached to abutments on top of your implants. These teeth may be a bridge, a denture, or crowns, depending on your individual clinical situation and personal preferences.

Why should I consider dental implants?

Implants do so much more than just holding your new teeth firmly in place. Of course, this is important; it enables you to eat whatever you choose – even the occasional juicy steak or chewy potato skin – without the worry that your teeth won’t be up to the job. It’s also important in terms of both speech and self-confidence; slippy, loose dentures can play havoc with your self-esteem.

But because they are supportive of bone growth, dental implants don’t just alleviate these common denture woes. They also help to preserve the structure of your face, as bone resorbtion can change your entire facial appearance and cause premature sagging of the skin.

How do I get dental implants?

Come into our Orpington clinic for an implant consultation, and your dentist will conduct a thorough clinical assessment, using CT scans and/or x-rays to help with diagnosis and planning. If you have oral health concerns such as periodontal disease, these will be treated before your implants are placed, to maximise their chances of success.

At our Orpington dental practice we can place dental implants under either local anaesthetic or sedation. Once your implants have integrated with your jaw bone, your dentist will attach your permanent new teeth – crowns, a bridge, or dentures – on top.

Scientists Discover Gum Disease has Been Around for a Very Long Time

Scientists recently examined the teeth of a 1,000-year-old human skeleton and discovered gum disease is not a new condition. In fact analysis of the hardened plaque or tartar on the teeth revealed ancient gum disease was caused by the same bacteria as today, even though oral hygiene habits and diet have changed tremendously during this period. Interestingly the scientists also found the beginnings of antibiotic resistance in these oral bacteria, even though antibiotics weren’t invented until the 1940s. It’s thought analysing the tartar or calculus found on these teeth could help scientists to discover how periodontal disease has evolved. This disease affects humans and domestic pets as well as zoo animals, but it doesn’t usually affect the teeth of wild animals. This has led to speculation that it’s a disease that has developed due to modern lifestyles.

gum-diseaseEveryone Is at Risk of Developing Gum Disease

It’s estimated half the population have some form of gum disease and it results from plaque bacteria being allowed to build up on the teeth. When this happens the bacteria produce toxins that irritate and infect the gum tissue, causing it to become inflamed and eventually it will begin pulling away from the teeth. It’s an extremely serious disease that can cause tooth loss, and can be tricky to treat if not caught early enough.

The name of this condition makes it pretty clear that gum disease destroys the gum tissue, but in fact gum disease or periodontal disease can also destroy other tissues that help keep teeth in place. These include the bone surrounding the tooth, and the ligaments that are normally attached to the tooth and to the tooth socket. When periodontal disease is allowed to get to this stage the destruction can be quite substantial, and it can be necessary to have various surgical procedures to try to help rebuild the lost tissue and bone.

There Is No Need to Have Unhealthy Gums

If you haven’t visited Orpington Dental Care for a while then now would be a good time to book an appointment with Dr Helen Loubser, or with another of our dentists. Even though many people will have symptoms of gum disease there is no need for you to join their ranks. Proper preventative dental care reduces the risk of this disease and can help nip any early symptoms in the bud, before any permanent damage is caused to your gums. If periodontal disease has already taken hold then one of our dentists in Orpington will recommend an appropriate course of treatment to try to reduce the infection and inflammation in your gums, to try to save the teeth, and to repair the damage already caused.

This disease can be a real problem for people who haven’t visited the dentist for a while, and it can affect those who feel nervous over dental visits.Orpington Dental Care is a very experienced in treating nervous patients, especially those who haven’t felt able to visit the dentist for years or possibly even decades. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to take action to help improve your dental health then give us a call. We’ll do everything possible to make sure dental treatment is as easy and pleasant as possible.

Choose dental implants as an investment in both your smile and your future

One of the most exciting developments in the world of dentistry of the past three decades, dental implants give your dentist a permanent way to replace missing teeth. At Orpington Dental Care we always recommend that missing teeth should be replaced, and believe that dental implants are often the best way to do this.

dental-implantsHow dental implants work

Dental implants replace the root portion of one or more missing teeth. They are placed directly in your jaw bone in a minor surgical procedure, which can be carried out using either local anaesthetic or conscious sedation at our Orpington dental practice.

Once in position, your implants will integrate with your jaw bone, providing a firm base for permanent new teeth – a crown, bridge, or denture, depending on how many teeth we need to replace – to be attached. With prudent aftercare, implants and the teeth affixed to them should last you many years, perhaps even a lifetime.

The advantages of dental implants

Implants come with several advantages over standard tooth replacements. These include:

1 Implants are permanent

In fact, dental implants are the only permanent way to replace your missing teeth. Standard bridges and dentures often need to be adjusted or replaced fairly frequently, making implants more cost-effective over time.

2 Preventing bone loss

Bone resorbtion is a common side-effect of tooth loss. It happens because the bone shrinks when the tooth roots are missing. Because implants are bionic tooth roots that support bone growth, they stop this from happening. As well as preserving your bone and stopping your teeth becoming loose, this also helps to avoid premature sagging of the facial skin.

3 Eat, smile, and speak with confidence

New teeth attached to dental implants won’t become loose and uncomfortable. They will both look and act like nature teeth, so you can eat whatever you choose, speak, smile, and laugh without fear of your teeth falling out.

Orthodontics for adults who don’t want a mouth full of metal

In the modern day and age, orthodontics doesn’t have to equal long periods of treatment with metal braces. At Orpington Dental Care we offer a number of more discreet ways to straighten teeth – perfect for adults with busy social and professional lives.

orthodonticsBraces remain one of the best ways to straighten teeth, giving your orthodontist or dentist maximum control over the movement of your teeth. However, obvious metal train track braces can cause adult patients as much embarrassment as misaligned teeth, and can even be a barrier to seeking treatment.

At Orpington Dental Care, we believe everybody deserves a smile to be proud of. That’s why our cosmetic dental team offer a variety of discreet orthodontic treatments, which use tooth-coloured or clear appliances to gently move your teeth into a better position.

Six Month Smiles

Six Month Smiles take the principles and mechanics of traditional braces and reinvent them for the modern age. Using tooth-coloured nickel-titanium wires and clear ceramic brackets, these braces work in between four and nine months. They do this so quickly because they only focus on the front six to eight teeth – those that are on show when you smile.

Because they are tooth-coloured, Six Month Smiles are not immediately obvious in the mouth, blending in with the natural colour of your teeth. They are also more comfortable than standard braces.

Inman Aligner

This single aligner is used to correct adult relapse (if you’ve had orthodontic treatment before) and misaligned front teeth. It is clear and removable, with only a very thin wire that will not be noticed in everyday life. The aligner fits over your teeth and uses specially-designed springs and wires to squeeze your front teeth into a more desirable position in as little as six weeks.

Invisalign

This series of clear aligners can correct a number of orthodontic problems. The aligners are clear and removable, for minimal impact on your day-to-day life.

Quick Tips for a Whiter, Brighter and Healthier Smile

The media is full of images of people with perfect teeth, and it’s something that most of us would really like to achieve. However teeth do change with age and begin to show signs of wear and tear due to normal everyday activities such as eating and drinking as well as other habits such as teeth grinding and smoking. The good news is that it is easier than ever to improve the look of your teeth, and excellent preventative dental care can do a lot to help keep your smile in the very best condition possible. Orpington Dental Care can offer the complete range of cosmetic dentistry options to help restore your smile to its former glory.

Let’s Start with the Basics

teeth whiteningBrushing and flossing can do a lot to help brighten up your smile. Brushing removes much of the plaque build-up from the surface of the teeth and which if left in place would quickly harden into tartar, a yellowish substance that can dull your smile and increase the likelihood of gum disease and tooth decay. Flossing helps complete the process and is vital for gum health. It removes plaque from those hard to reach areas in between your teeth, as well as food debris that would otherwise give you bad breath.

Brightening up That Smile

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures available as it’s fast and effective. If you’re interested in brightening up your smile then it’s best to book an appointment with Dr Helen Loubser to find out if this treatment is suitable. You need to be in good dental health to whiten safely. Orpington Dental Care can provide you with custom-made whitening trays and will prescribe the correct strength of whitening gel for your teeth so you can whiten safely and comfortably.

Need a Little Extra Help?

There are numerous cosmetic dentistry options available which can help lift your smile, and they don’t necessarily have to cost a fortune. For example dental bonding is a quick and easy fix to cover up chipped teeth and to replace areas that have been worn away. You might also be able to benefit from enamel contouring, as this is a process that removes the tiny amount of dental enamel from your teeth to reshape them, helping to remove minor imperfections. It’s often a great choice of treatment to use in conjunction with dental bonding. Porcelain veneers are more permanent and can help close up gaps in between teeth and can cover up teeth that are discoloured or stained.

Missing Teeth?

We have the perfect solution as many people will be suitable for dental implants in Orpington, a method that inserts a small titanium post into the jawbone, replacing natural tooth roots and providing a strong anchorage point for dental crowns, bridges or dentures. The effects are very long-lasting making this treatment one of the top choices for tooth replacement in the longer term.

If you are interested in improving your smile then probably the best thing to do is to book a checkup and hygiene appointment at Orpington Dental Care. You can discuss your options with your dentist in Orpington, and having your teeth professionally cleaned is a great way to begin to brighten them up while keeping them healthy.

Get a New Denture

Dentures are a common solution for missing teeth. They’ve been around in some form or other for centuries – in fact, the first dentures can be traced back to the time of the ancient Egyptians! Fortunately, the materials and technology used to create dentures is ever-evolving, meaning they are now more comfortable and practical than ever, and can restore both your confidence in your smile and your ability to eat a varied, healthy diet.

dental denturesIf you have one or a few missing teeth, a partial denture is used. If you have lost all your teeth in one arch of your mouth (the top or bottom jaw) you will need a full denture. In both cases dentures can either be removable or can be fixed using dental implants.

Dentures are made from durable, hard-wearing material designed to look like natural teeth and gums. They are designed to fit your mouth perfectly for maximum comfort. Removable dentures can be taken out for cleaning, and you need to ensure you follow the hygienist’s advice on how to properly clean and care for your denture to avoid problems such as gum disease or bad breath.

It often takes a few days to get used to wearing a removable denture, but you will quickly adapt to chewing, eating and speaking. Over time, you may experience gum recession, which may make your dentures loose, so you will need to visit us again to have them adjusted.

Another solution is to have your dentures fixed with dental implants. This involves a minor surgical procedure, during which implants (bionic metal artificial tooth roots) are placed in your jawbone. After a healing period, your dentures are fixed using special attachments. They can still be removed for cleaning, but there’s no danger of them becoming loose or falling out an inopportune moment. Dental implants can usually be placed under local anaesthetic, although sedation is also an option.

Mouth Cancer Screening

We know that cancer is a scary word. Cases of mouth cancer are on the rise and, like any form of cancer, early detection vastly increases the chances of making a full recovery. That’s why we undertake mouth cancer screening as standard during your regular dental check-ups.

mouth cancer screeningAs dentists we have the experience and equipment to spot the early stages of mouth cancer, even before you may have noticed anything yourself. However, if you do find anything suspicious between your regular check-ups, please make an appointment to see us straight away. Remember: the earlier mouth cancer is spotted, the better your chances of recovery are.

Symptoms of mouth cancer include:

  • Lumps in the mouth, tongue or throat
  • Red or white patches in the mouth or throat
  • Ulcers which do not heal
  • Persistent mouth pain or pain/problems swallowing
  • Swollen lymph glands in the neck
  • Changes to speech or voice
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Problems moving the jaw
  • Bleeding/numbness in the mouth
  • Teeth that become loose for no obvious reason

Should you notice any of these signs, or anything else suspicious, book an appointment straight away. One of our dentists will carry out a thorough examination of the whole of your mouth, using a special hand-held device to scan any lesions or lumps they may find. This helps to highlight any risk factors; if we do find anything suspicious, we will refer you to a hospital consultant for further investigation.

In many cases, anything we find may be benign. However, because of late detection, mouth cancers have a higher number of deaths per number of cases than the more widely publicised conditions breast cancer, cervical cancer or skin melanoma. Currently there about 2,700 deaths from mouth cancer in the UK every year.

For more information about mouth cancer, including diagnosis, treatment and support groups, please visit the Mouth Cancer Foundation website.

Replacing Missing Teeth

If you’ve lost one or more of your natural teeth, you’ll know how distressing an experience it can be. We see patients who have lost teeth for a variety of reasons, from tooth decay or gum disease to accident or injury.

dental implantsWhatever the cause, it can be very traumatic and can lead you to be embarrassed about smiling in public. In addition, it can cause a range of other health problems, from difficulties in maintaining a healthy diet because many foods are suddenly off the menu to further dental health problems as your other teeth move out of position into any gaps, while gums and bone start to recede.

Fortunately, we offer a wide range of options to replace missing teeth. The best treatment for you will depend on your individual needs and circumstances, which we’ll discuss with you at an initial consultation. Here are some of the choices:

Bridges

Dental bridges can replace one or two adjacent missing teeth. They are usually made of a precious metal base and may also contain porcelain to make them look natural. Bridges usually use surrounding teeth for support, so these teeth will need to be strong and healthy. They may be attached using crowns or wings on supporting teeth, with a false tooth or teeth in between. Sometimes, bridges are attached to dental implants.

Dentures

Dentures may be fixed with dental implants or be removable. Partial dentures replace a few missing teeth while full dentures replace an entire arch (jaw) worth of teeth. Dentures are made from hard-wearing material and look a lot like natural teeth and gums.

Dental implants

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made of titanium. They are placed directly in the jawbone, where they can support replacement teeth in the form of crowns, bridges or secured dentures. Unlike other tooth replacement options, implants support bone growth, helping to prevent bone loss.

Replacing Old Crowns and Veneers Dental crowns

Dental crowns and veneers are two popular treatment options for patients with missing, damaged or gappy teeth, and those who are otherwise unhappy about how their smile looks.

dental crownsCrowns are used to restore teeth that have been broken, have very large fillings, have been weakened by decay or root canal treatment, are worn or have been otherwise damaged. They act like a cap to your tooth, providing extra strength and building it up to look and act like a natural tooth again.

Veneers are usually used on the top teeth to aesthetically improve their appearance, giving you a smile you want to show off to everyone. They are very thin slivers of porcelain placed on the front of your teeth. A single veneer may be used to, for example, cover one discoloured or badly stained tooth, while a full set (usually between six and eight veneers) can give your whole smile a makeover, closing small gaps, correcting a chipped or slightly misaligned tooth and otherwise disguising imperfections.

With good care and regular dental visits, your crowns and veneers should last you a long time. However, sometimes they can become damaged – just like natural teeth – and in need of replacing. At Orpington Dental Practice, our expert team can restore you smile with new crowns or veneers, using the latest techniques and materials for a completely natural-looking result.

Crowns have been used in dentistry for many years. They were – indeed still are – made from a range of materials, including gold, which was a popular choice as it is very strong and durable. However, it is also very noticeable, meaning many people don’t want a gold crown near the front of their mouth. We can replace old crowns with natural-looking tooth-coloured crowns, which thanks to advances in materials can be matched to the natural shade of your teeth.

If your veneers are damaged or have been badly fitted, we may be able to repair them or can fit a new set that are precisely made to match the shade and shape of your existing teeth, creating a beautiful, natural new smile.