Dental implants are the perfect modern solution to replace missing teeth or stabilise loose dentures.
Several months are usually required for the implant to integrate with the bone, after which, it can be utilised to support a crown or bridge. Implants can also be used to support loose dentures in certain circumstances. The cosmetic and functional results with dental implant treatment can be as good as natural teeth and last for many years. A dental implant is a titanium post, which is surgically placed in the jaw and functions as a replacement for your tooth.
Dr Satya Patel is an experienced implantologist who is dedicated to providing the all aspects of implant treatment including bone grafting and full mouth rehabilitation. He is a member of the ADI (Association of Dental Implantology)
- What are dental implants? Dental implants can be used to replace missing teeth, which have been lost due to tooth decay, gum disease or injury. The implant consists of a titanium screw, which acts as a tooth root and is surgically inserted into the jaw. Titanium has been shown to be a safe material that has the special ability to integrate with bone. A crown or bridge can be attached to the titanium implant as a tooth substitute. Implants can also be used to anchor a denture firmly in place.
- Who needs dental implants? Implants are suitable for anyone who has a missing tooth, fractured tooth, loose tooth or a tooth that needs extraction. Unsightly gaps can result from missing teeth. If a gap is left for a long time, the gum and bone will slowly shrink and the teeth on either side can tilt into the gap, potentially cause bite problems and gum disease in some cases. If you are concerned about your missing teeth, we can advise you on the best options for you to have natural looking teeth.
- Who may not be suitable for dental implant treatment? Implants are not suitable for everybody. Adequate amount of bone and gum tissue is required for successful implants. Other risk factors, which can compromise treatment, include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, uncontrolled gum disease and patients with systemic diseases that affect the body’s healing capacity. When you attend for a consultation all these factors will be discussed to see if you are suitable for implant treatment.
- Do I need to have an implant if my tooth is missing? Missing teeth at the front of your mouth can affect the appearance of your smile . If a back tooth is missing it can reduce your chewing capacity. The fewer teeth that you have in your mouth usually results in your remaining teeth taking more loading forces than they should ideally tolerate. Teeth being overloaded are more likely to break and can wear down faster. If you are concerned about any of these issues, you can discuss it further when you attend the practice or email your questions.
- What are the advantages of dental implant treatment? Dental implants have been shown to be a predictable long-term solution to replace missing teeth. They can allow you to have a full set of natural looking teeth again. They will look and feel like your own teeth.
- What happens during implant treatment?
- Assessment, Your mouth must be healthy before we can plan implant treatment i.e. free from tooth decay and gum disease. The planning for implant treatment involves assessing the bone and surrounding anatomy with a localised X ray radiograph or 3-D Cone beam scan. Once your mouth has been assessed, treatment options will be discussed before a treatment plan is drawn up.
- Surgery: Local anaesthetic is given in the mouth just as a normal dental procedure. A small cut is made in the gum and a site prepared for the implant, which is screwed into place. Dissolving stitches are placed over the area to for about a week to help healing. If there is insufficient bone, then a small bone graft may be necessary using substitute materials or bone from another site.
- Abutment connection: A healing period of 2-6 months is usually necessary for the implant to integrate with the bone. Following this healing period an abutment is attached to the implant.
- Definitive crown or bridge. A crown or bridge is usually cemented or screwed into the abutment. The final crown or bridge will look like a natural tooth.
- Are implants painful? The implant surgery is carried out under local anaesthetic so you will not feel any pain during the treatment. When the anaesthetic wears off, you may experience some tenderness and inflammation but this can be controlled by taking painkillers such as paracetemol and ibuprofen. Other aspects of implant treatment such as abutment connection and crown connection involves minimal discomfort.
- What should I do shortly after my treatment? Healing after implant placement can take a couple of weeks. Different patients heal at different rates and it also depends on the complexity of the treatment carried out. You will be given aftercare instructions on how to look after your mouth after the implants have been placed.
- Are there follow up appointments after the implant procedure? As already mentioned above, implants take 2-6 months to integrate with bone depending on patients rate of healing. In that time you will have review appointments to ensure that all is progressing well with your teeth and gums. You can call our emergency number to discuss any concerns at any time. Some patients will be provided with temporary bridges or dentures while the implants heal.
- How do I look after my dental implants? Implants are a replacement for your missing teeth and they should be looked after in the same way you should look after your own natural teeth. You should make sure that you brush your teeth twice a day as a minimum with correct brushing technique using a fluoride toothpaste in addition to using a chlorhexidine mouthwash. Our practice hygienist can give you specific advice on brushing including use of interdental brushes. Implants can also be affected by gum disease hence a high level of oral hygiene is necessary.
- How long do implants last? Dental implants are used internationally and have a very high success rate. Implants, much like natural teeth, will last as long as you care for them. If your implants are well looked after and if the bone is strong and healthy, you can expect them to last for many years. However, just as with other surgical implants (such as hip replacement) there is no lifetime guarantee.
- What costs can be expected? The costs depend on the brand on implant, number of implants and complexity of treatment. Please see the costs section for a guide. Implants can be costly in the short term but provide excellent value for money in the long term. At your initial consultation and after X rays/Scans are taken, you will be provided with a treatment plan and payment options available.