How Advances in Dental Technology Are Taking the Strain off the NHS

Dentistry has seen an evolution in the UK over the past century and more so in the last 50 years since the time of the NHS. A lot of surgical procedures that were once only available in hospitals are now readily available in dental practices. The benefit of this is that it has significantly reduced waiting times for dental treatments such as dental implants in Herefordshire. In addition it has reduced a great strain from NHS hospitals who are able to focus on more life threatening situations as a result of this delegation. 

What are dental implants? 
Dental implants are designed to replace missing teeth. This is one of the most effective ways of replacing teeth in comparison to the temporary methods that people often use. Essentially dental implants are titanium screws that are fitted directly into the jawbone in place of the missing tooth root. It is a procedure that requires two visits to the dentist. One of the benefits to dental implants is that aside from cosmetically restoring a persons smile, they also reduce the risk of further damage to existing teeth. The issue with tooth loss is that once a supporting tooth falls out or is removed, other teeth can shift and become loose due to the gap. This can lead to extensive problems later on and bump up dentist waiting times. Nipping the issue in the bud and having an implant fitted means the rest of your teeth have a much better prognosis. 

How are dental implants fitted? 
Patients looking to get dental implants will have an initial consultation with their dentist of choice. At this appointment the dentist will undertake a thorough examination of the teeth and will then take imprints and conduct x rays. If the patient is confident of getting dental implants then any cost implications will also be discussed at that point. The dentist will enable patients to spread the cost of dental work across monthly instalments if this is something that is more suited to the patient’s requirements and personal circumstances. At the main appointment the titanium screw will be drilled into the jawbone in place of the missing tooth root. There is often some pain and discomfort when this procedure is being carried out and therefore the dentist will offer the patient anaesthetic and also pain relief for once the anaesthetic has worn off. Once the titanium screw has been fitted the patient is free to go. The next appointment will be in 6-8 weeks time due to the fact that it is essential that there is a large gap in between the appointments to ensure that the implant has enough time to fuse with the jawbone and become a natural part of the jawbone. 

What is the recovery time?
During these six to eight weeks it is essential that the patient maintains good oral hygiene and brushes and flosses twice a day. This is to avoid any infections from developing which may impact on the implant’s ability to heal and fuse with the jawbone. After six to eight weeks the patient will have another appointment where the dentist will check that the implant has successfully fused with the jawbone. Once this has been established the dentist will go about placing the replacement tooth onto the implant. The dentist will ensure that the patient has a natural and seamless finish and that the replacement tooth blends with the remaining teeth. 

The patient will then be instructed to treat the replacement tooth like their natural teeth and brush the replacement tooth twice daily and to floss. This is to ensure that no bacteria builds up or that there are no infections that require further treatment.