Why do people have dental implants?
Dental implants are now a well-accepted way of replacing missing teeth. The implant itself provides an artificial replacement for the root of your missing tooth or teeth. The implant can then support crowns , bridges or dentures, in a similar way to how natural roots support natural teeth.
What is a dental implant
A dental implant is a titanium screw, with a special coating, which mimics body tissue. The bone around the implant will then attach to the implant surface in a process called osseo-integration. Once fully osseo-integrated, the dental implant is ready to withstand the force of chewing.
How long do dental implants last
Implants are a safe, well-established treatment. It’s probably true to say that implants, much like natural teeth, will last for as long as you care for them.
How well you look after your implants – and whether you go for your regular maintenance appointments – will have the biggest impact on how long they will last.
If you don’t look after your implants they will develop a plaque coating similar to what you get on neglected natural teeth. Left untreated, this can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and general discomfort. The same problems that can occur with natural teeth.
If your implants are well looked after, and if the bone they are fitted to is strong and healthy, you can expect them to last for many years. Some studies suggest up to 20years. However, just as with other surgical implants (such as a hip replacement) there is no lifetime guarantee.
How much do dental implants cost?
The placement of the highest quality dental implant starts at £1000 but our consultation process will provide you with a customised treatment plan for your specific circumstances and aesthetic/functional goals.
The full restored and functioning cost of the dental implant depends on which restorative option you have placed on top of the implant. This option varies depending on individual circumstances but an itemised breakdown of costs is always provided.
Do implants hurt?
Placing an implant is often less invasive than taking a tooth out and is usually performed using a simple local anaesthetic. You will not feel any pain at the time of placement but, just like after a tooth extraction, you may feel some discomfort during the week after the surgery.
Sometimes your dentist might offer you a sedative if you are very nervous or if the case is a complicated one.
Are the implant teeth difficult to clean?
With the correct design, no. But aftercare is important if you are going to have a long-lasting, successful implant. Our hygiene team will give you detailed advice on how to look after your implants post placement. There are many aids which can be used to achieve an effective clean around the implant at home. We will go through the correct method for you in the hygiene aftercare appointment. You may need to visit the hygienist more often for implant maintenance, possibly 3 monthly but the dental team will be able to talk to you about this option.
Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?
Most teeth attached to dental implants can only be fitted and removed by the dentist. However, if you have removable dentures attached to the implants, you’ll be able to take them out for cleaning.
Alternatives to dental implants
Alternatives to dental implants include:
- removable dentures (false teeth) – plastic or metal frameworks that hold one or more false teeth
- a bridge – false teeth that are fixed onto the natural teeth on either side of the missing one
Can anyone have dental implants?
Dental implants are suitable for most adults who are in good general health and have healthy gums. They aren’t suitable for children and young people under 18 because the underlying bones are still growing.
We tend not recommend dental implants if you:
- are a smoker
- have had radiotherapy to your jaw area
- have diabetes which isn’t well-controlled
- have gum (periodontal) disease
In addition to the above factors, the implant placement depends on the condition of the bone in your jaw. Our implantologist will arrange for a 3D CT Scan of the area, to find out the amount of bone present and the shape of bone available for implant placement.
If there is not enough, or if it isn’t healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first.