A dental implant is a small titanium rod which is placed into the jaw bone and is accepted by the body. It is used to support one or more artificial teeth.
Q. Are implants safe and how long do they last?
A. Implants are a well –established, tried and tested treatment. Over 95% of modern implants last many years with the right after care.
Q. I have some of my own teeth. Can I still have implants?
A. Yes. You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants- from one single tooth to a complete set.
Q. Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?
A. No. It depends on the condition, quality and amount of bone in your jaw. If there is inadequate quantity or poor quality of bone it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first.
Q. Do implants hurt?
A. Placing the implants requires a small operation. This is painless as it is carried out using local anaethesia but if you are nervous then sedation techniques can be used to relax and you will then remember nothing of the procedure. Following the placement of the implants you will experience some discomfort for about a week due to the normal healing process but this is easily controlled with the medication you will be given to take home.
Q. How long does the treatment take?
A. From the initial assessment to the time when the artificial teeth are attached can vary from the same day to, in very complicated cases, 18 months. You will be given a rough timetable before the treatment starts but, as a general guide, healing is faster in the lower jaw where bone quality is usually better than in the upper jaw.
From commencement of treatment to placement of the definitive restoration is usually approximately 3 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper jaw.
However, in some situations provisional restorations may be connected on the same or following day.
Q. If I lost my teeth due to gum disease, will I get the same problems with the implants?
A. Yes, if you don’t care for them properly! Regular appointments with the hygienist for cleaning and a check on your home maintenance are essential if you are to have long lasting, successful implants.
Q. Do I have an implant for every missing tooth?
A. No, unless you’re having only a single tooth replaced, Normally. five or six implants are used to replace all the teeth in one jaw and two or three for a few missing teeth.
Q. What happens if the implant does not bond to the bone?
A. This happens very rarely. If the implant becomes loose during the healing period it is easily removed and healing takes place in the normal way. Once the jaw has healed, another implant can be placed there.
Q. Is the treatment expensive?
A. Yes it can be. You will be given a written estimate of the cost with a full explanation of the treatment and timings and alternative treatments and costings. Over the longer term, implants are usually a more cost effective and satisfactory option with many advantages. An implant to replace a single tooth avoids the need to cut down the teeth either side for crowns to support a bridge, and retains the bone needed for optimal aesthetics. Normal dentures often mean you can’t eat or speak well , due to the dentures moving about, but teeth attached to implants do not cause these problems as the implants are anchored to the bone even more firmly than natural teeth.