1. What are dental implants?
- Dental implants are "specialised dental screws" usually made of titanium which are placed under the gum to help support a crown (single tooth), bridge (more than 1 tooth) or a denture (several teeth).
2. Can I have implants?
- This requires a full assessment of your general health, smoking status, health of your mouth in particular your gum health. Usually specialised xrays and scans are required to accurately assess and plan your treatment.
3. How long does the treatment take?
- This varies from individual to individual but as a basic timeline:
Visit 1: Assessment and treatment is discussed
Visit 2 : If needed the tooth is extracted and left to heal between 2-3 months. Sometimes implants can be placed on the same day the tooth is extracted.
Visit 3: The implant or implants are placed usually under a local anaesthetic (approximately 95% of my patients are treated this way). If you are anxious oral or IV sedation can be arranged.
Visit 4: I will review you about 2 weeks later to make sure all is healing well
Visit 5: After 3-6 months of healing the implant is assessed to ensure it has healed (this healing time may be more if a grafting procedure has been carried out or you are a diabetic)
Visit 6: Impressions (moulds) of your teeth and records are taken
Visit 7: The crown or bridge is fitted. If you are having a denture made this usually takes an additional 4-5 visits
4. Is it painful?
- Just like most surgical procedures, it is not painful at the time as It is carried out under a local anaesthetic
- There is usually some post-operative pain which is usually controlled with painkillers.
- There are a large number of my patients who report very little pain and the surprising lack of need to take painkillers for any great deal of time if at all.
- However patients who need multiple implants or a grafting procedure tend to be in more discomfort afterwards with some possible swelling which soon resolves.
5. How long do implant last?
- This varies from individual to individual as many factors influence how long they will last but current long term studies should good success rates up to around 15 years if properly maintained.
- There is good long term data on dental implants provided you maintain your oral health with routine check ups and hygiene visits and your own regular hygiene procedures such as using electric toothbrushes, using interdental brushes (e.g. Tepe) and flossing. The crown or bridge that is being supported by the implant will be subject to wear and tear and it is important to understand these will need replacing as an average about every 10 years, although this may vary.
6. Why do implants cost so much?
- The main reason for this is I tend to use Premier implant companies whom I know will be around in 10 years so I can still order components. Smaller companies although can be significantly cheaper have a risk that if they go bankrupt then their components may be difficult or impossible to obtain.