DENTAL IMPLANT CASE STUDY
Dental implants have given me peace of mind
Lawrence was fed up with the inconvenience of wearing a denture and decided to consider dental implants. Before implant treatment was possible, he needed extensive bone augmentation. Years of wearing a bridge had left him with reduced bone in his upper jaw. Lawrence’s patience paid off and a solid foundation for the implants was built up. He is now delighted to be able to smile, eat and speak with confidence.
Lawrence’s upper left four-tooth bridge was fitted by a previous dentist almost 30 years ago. But after it failed and was removed, he was given a denture to fill the gap. Lawrence could not tolerate the denture. He disliked the adhesive that was necessary to fix it in place. He also worried that the appliance would move or slip when eating and he was concerned about losing or breaking it.
Eventually, Lawrence couldn’t bear wearing the plate any longer. He worried about it daily. When preparing to go on holiday, he broke the denture by treading on it. This prompted him to think about dental implant treatment. Lawrence explains, “The denture was so inconvenient and I had to stick it together with superglue to see me through my holiday!”
Solid foundation of bone
Lawrence was referred to Dr Steve Larcombe, St Lawrence House Dental Practice, Winchester. After a complete assessment, Dr Larcombe advised that Lawrence needed to have bone built up in his jaw, before he could start implant treatment. Bone can be lost when it is not in regular use. It is a natural process called resorption, which results in progressive bone loss or shrinkage. This is due to the lack of chewing stimulation when a gap is left. Resorption also occurs with natural ageing, injury, gum disease and wearing a conventional bridge or denture. Lawrence comments “I didn’t realise that with the passage of time the bone in my jaw was deteriorating.”
One of the key requirements for dental implant treatment is having enough bone in the jaw. The success of a tooth implant is partly dependent upon the foundation of bone that will support it. A solid, reliable base is needed to anchor the implant. Dr Larcombe explains, “Lawrence had a very large bone width defect and a bone perforation on the upper left of his jaw. He needed extensive bone augmentation which was left for nine months to mature before the implants were placed. The exceptional bone deterioration warranted a particularly technique-sensitive reconstruction, which required advanced knowledge and experience in surgery procedures.”
Lawrence found the first stage of the treatment challenging; it was necessarily invasive and his jaw bone then needed time to restore and recover. In the meantime he was still wearing his denture plate. However, he says, “Dr Larcombe was encouraging and explained in very full detail why the process was necessary. I was continually reassured by him that I was well on the way to completion of treatment.”
Dr Larcombe adds, “A good bone ridge was achieved for the implants and also importantly for the pontics of the bridgework, so the whole restoration looks like real teeth emerging from his gum. I was quite delighted with the result of the augmentation – the foundation for the final result.”
Confident, natural smile
Lawrence had two implants placed in the upper left of his jaw to support a four-tooth bridge, and two implants in the lower left jaw for single tooth crowns. He is delighted with the outcome of the treatment. He explains, “The dental implants have given me the confidence to smile properly. My daughter recently booked a photographer to record a family celebration. Looking back at the pictures, I realised that I didn’t have a nervous-looking smile anymore. I have a nice, natural smile.”
He also finds eating easier. “Eating is much more pleasurable again, especially without having to think about the glue to hold the denture in place. I love apples and can now eat them without worry.” Lawrence is a teacher and the implants have helped him in his job. Over the first few weeks he had to get used to the shape of the implants in his mouth, “My job involves a lot of public speaking and I am on various committees related to my work. I was conscious of my denture on a daily basis, especially when speaking in public, which could be very frequent depending on engagements. I don’t have to worry about my implants. They are great compared to how a denture feels in your mouth.”
Lawrence concludes, “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend teeth implants and the extraordinary work accomplished on my behalf by Dr Larcombe. Implants are worth it in the long term and I am really, really delighted I opted for the treatment.”