Our experienced implant dentist Dr Owain Rees BDS DGDP (UK) Dip Imp Dent (UCL) takes time out to talk about the implant teeth procedure and options when faced with multiple failing teeth in a patient.
For some, it’s the final chance of a solution, desperate for help as too many failing teeth have eroded confidence and any quality of life.
Others have come at their wits’ end with unstable dentures and still more as referrals from other practitioners.
However, they arrive at Dudley’s North Street Dental, central to many of their solutions is dental implant surgeon Dr Owain Rees BDS DGDP (UK) Dip Imp Dent (UCL).
Famed at the practice for his “let’s go and fix somebody” quip before undertaking surgery, Owain does just that, says principal Steven Burchell DipCDT RCS(Eng).
With more than 25 years’ experience placing implants, Owain was in the vanguard of UK implant therapy while working as a house officer in oral surgery at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
Dr Owain Rees, North Street Dental implant surgeon
“Very early on I was exposed to implant work and placed my first in the late ‘80s. Since then I’ve continued with a particular interest in this field,” he says.
Adds Steven: “We’re incredibly fortunate to have someone of Owain’s professional stature working with us. He’s innovative, accessible, everything you’d expect of a dentist with such advanced surgical skills and a genuinely nice guy to meet.”
Complicated surgical cases requiring long-term solution implant options for failing teeth are all under his remit and not least, the patients who require full mouth restorations.
Although figures are improving, there are around 11 million denture wearers in the UK, and it’s not just the elderly who require them. Nearly a million people aged 16 to 44 also have false teeth.
Worryingly, recent figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show a drop in the number of people seen by a dentist. Some 22 million adults and eight million children are currently without dental care, and the data reveals a decade of inertia in access to dentistry. An expected 75 per cent of them will develop periodontal (gum) problems.
“Gum disease is the biggest obstacle we encounter with patients who have multiple failing teeth and is also the biggest reason for tooth loss for those aged 45-plus,” Owain confirms.
Implants offer options for failing teeth
It is rooted in a moral and ethical commitment. Owain explains: “There can be several reasons for multiple tooth failure – trauma, insufficient tooth tissue, caries, gum disease and infection – but we have to commit to a decision on which teeth are worth saving and in the light of current research findings that is very important.”
Owain explains that even a couple of native teeth can help with the care of implants and there is now a strong medical consensus they improve long-term outcomes.
What is known as ‘proprioception of teeth’ – the ability for teeth to signal to the brain how much pressure is in the bite – can stop unnatural levels of force being applied in the jaw and damaging the implant.
“It’s not as simple as just taking them all out and putting in the implants as replacements for teeth,” Owain adds.
“If there’s an infection, we must remove it, and if there’s pain, we need to find its underlying cause.
“If there’s gum disease we have to get it under control and establish that the patient is motivated enough to do their part with disciplined cleaning,” he says.
Dr Owain Rees at work
Our implant surgery
Very few people who are not suitable for implants
In the course of dealing with a multiplicity of problems, fillings, root therapy, bridges, crowns and temporary crowns may be used before oral health is achieved and the implant work can begin.
“It can sometimes include a vast and complex menu of work,” adds Owain.
These days there a very few people who are not suitable for implants and those lacking enough good bone to tolerate the therapy can usually undergo a synthetic bone graft (bone augmentation) at the surgery.
Adds Steven: “Especially with implants, the surgical journey needs to be embraced by the patient. It’s different for everyone, but the results can be life-changing.”
Implant patient Norma Aston
Implant patient Vicki Ball
Owain’s recent implant dentures patients have included vivacious salsa dancer, Norma Aston, and former community midwife Vicki Ball. You can read their full stories over on our case study page.
Speaking about her new teeth, Norma, who had six lower implants to support a removable over-denture, said:
“Knowing that Owain was going to do the surgery was great.
“My new teeth . . . I couldn’t ask for more and I’m amazed at the difference. They look so natural.“
Vicki, who had two implants to stabilise her lower over-denture, adds:
“Not to have to keep thinking about my teeth when I’m out is so good. From start to finish it took 14 weeks, but it was worth the wait.”
Implant options include:
Implant-supported single crowns
Implant-supported permanent full upper or lower arch of teeth
Implant-retained detachable upper and lower over-dentures
The ‘teeth in a day’ procedure – where a whole arch of permanently fixed teeth can be secured on implants in a single day