Harley Street Dental and Implant Clinic was one of the first practices in the UK to adopt dental implant technology, training its team in the technique in 1985. Implant dentistry is still performed in much the same way, although the risk of post operation complications has reduced and the survival rate of implants is now above 95 per cent.
Patients are usually recommended dental implants when they have suffered multiple tooth loss, as part of a full or partial mouth rehabilitation. Implants are screwed into the jawbone, which beforehand may be modified with bone augmentation, a surgical procedure where bone matter is appended to the jawbone, instigating regeneration.
Most patients undergo the procedure comfortably under local anaesthetic, but general anaesthetic is available at Harley Street Dental and Implant Clinic for nervous patients.
Treatment usually involves two stages, a surgical and a prosthetic phase. The surgical phase inserts the implant into the jawbone under local anaesthetic or light sedation. A period of three to six months is required to allow the implants to fully integrate with the surrounding bone, a process known as osseointegration, before the artificial teeth are fitted. During this period a temporary restoration may be required until the implants are able to support the permanent artificial teeth.
Dental implants may stand alone in the mouth to fill a gap or may be used as anchor points to hold bridges in place. They are designed to be permanent, feeling and working like natural teeth. Implants were developed in the mid-50s in Sweden and the literature now available shows the survival rate of implants over the past 40 years is above 95 per cent.
The restorative aspect of implants – how teeth look on them – has also evolved. Today it is possible to fit a toothless patient with a full set of teeth held on implants in a single day, which cannot be aesthetically distinguished from natural teeth and will last as long.
In all on four and all on six treatments, where four or six implants are placed around the arch of the mouth, false teeth bridges, which have been manufactured beforehand, are screwed onto the implants allowing patients who arrived at Harley Street Dental and Implant Clinic wearing dentures to walk out with a full set of permanent teeth.
Dr Jacobs, who has worked at Harley Street Dental and Implant Clinic for more than 30 years, was among the first dentists in the UK to be formally trained in the technique and co-authored the textbook Dental Implant Restoration: Principles and Procedures, which was published in 2011.
If you suffer from missing teeth, book a consultation with a prosthodontist at Harley Street Dental and Implant Clinic to discuss whether you are suitable for dental implants.