Dental implants offer an effective, long lasting way to replace one or more missing teeth, and can offer a permanent alternative to dentures. They can improve how you eat and speak, prevent shrinkage of the jawbone, and keep any existing teeth firmly in place.
Implants are titanium posts that are surgically placed in the jawbone to act just like tooth roots. These posts eventually fuse with the bone, providing a firm foundation for a crown or bridge.
- We carry out a full assessment of your general health, how your teeth fit together, your oral health and the density of your jaw bone. If we discover you have insufficient bone volume for implants, you may need a grafting procedure so the implants can be successfully placed.
- The titanium posts are surgically placed in the bone.
- Titanium is very well tolerated by the body, so over a few months the implants will bond with the bone – a process known as osseo-integration.
- Once settled in and fully healed, we can fit replacement teeth to the now firmly positioned implants.
You need to maintain good oral hygiene following treatment to ensure your implants remain trouble free. If well looked after, with a regular brushing and flossing routine, they can last for over 15 years.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a titanium metal rod which is placed into the jawbone. It is used to support one or more crowns, a bridge or a denture.
Are implants safe? How long will they last?
Implants are a well-established, tried-and-tested treatment. 90 per cent of modern implants last for at least 15 years.
I have some of my own teeth. Can I still have implants?
Yes. You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants – from one single tooth to a complete set.
Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?
It depends on the state of the bone in your jaw. Your dentist will arrange for a number of special tests to assess the amount of bone still there. If there is not enough, or if it isn’t healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without having a bone graft first.
Do implants hurt?
Placing the implants requires a small operation. This can be carried out under local anaesthetic with sedation or with a general anaesthetic. You will not feel any pain at the time, but you may feel some discomfort during the week following the surgery. This is usually due to the normal healing process.
How long does treatment take?
It takes about 12 months from the initial assessment to the time when the artificial teeth or dentures are finally attached to the implants. A lot depends on how complex your treatment is. Your dentist will be able to give you a timetable once the surgery has been done.
Are the teeth difficult to clean?
Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. However, there may be areas that give you problems and you’ll be shown methods to help.
Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?
Most artificial teeth attached to implants can only be placed and removed by the dentist. However, if you have complete dentures fixed to the implants by bars, then you’ll be able to take them out for cleaning.
Do I have an implant for each missing tooth?
No, unless you’re only having a single tooth replaced. Normally, five or six implants are used to replace all the teeth in one jaw, as each implant can usually support two teeth. For a few missing teeth, two or three implants may be used.
If I had gum disease when I had my own teeth, will I get it with the teeth attached to the implants?
Yes, if you don’t care for them well enough. If you keep them clean, and don’t smoke, then you should not have any problems.
What if I get hit in the face?
Implants and the teeth they support can be damaged by an accident in the same way that natural teeth can. However, if the artificial teeth are damaged and the remnants are left in the bone then they may be more difficult to remove than natural teeth would be. After healing, new artificial teeth can then be placed alongside the fragments.
What happens if the implant does not bond (integrate) with the bone?
This happens very rarely. If the implant becomes loose during the healing period or just after, then it is easily removed and healing takes place in the normal way. Once the jaw has healed, another implant can be placed there.
How much do Implants cost?
At your initial assessment your dentist will give you an idea of cost, whilst this treatment can cost more than bridgework, there are advantages to it. An implant to replace a single tooth avoids the need to cut down the teeth either side for crowns to support a bridge. Normal dentures often mean you can’t eat or speak well, due to the dentures moving about. But teeth attached to an implant don’t cause this problem.