Dental Implant FAQs
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS...
Are implants safe and how long will they last?
Implants are a well-established, tried-and-tested. Over 95% of modern implants should last for many years with the right care.
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 condition of the bone in your jaw. Your dentist will arrange for a number of special tests to find out 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 the implants without grafting the bone into the area first.
Do implants hurt?
Placing the implants means a small operation. This can be done using a simple local anaesthetic, and sometimes with sedation if you are very nervous. You will not feel any pain at the time, but you may feel some discomfort for a short time after the procedure. This is usually due to having stitches, and the normal healing process.
How long does treatment take?
Your dentist will be able to give you a rough timetable before the treatment starts. Usually the permanent teeth are fitted 6-9 months after the implants are put in but can be as little as 3-4 months depending on the case.
What about after care?
Your dentist may give you some pain relief after the procedure to take at home over the next few days. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics. It is advised not to smoke, exercise or drive for the rest of the day. Don’t rinse the area and only eat soft foods. It is important to keep your mouth clean by brushing, but do not poke the implant site. You can use a chlorhexidine mouthwash every day for the first week after the procedure.
What happens next?
The implants need to bond with the bone after they have been placed. This usually take at least 3 months in the lower jaw and up to 6 months in the upper jaw. Sometimes the implants may be stable enough when they are fitted for the artificial teeth to be attached much sooner.
If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you may have a temporary denture in the meantime. If you are having complete dentures, then you can keep wearing these throughout the healing period once they have been modified. A healing cap will usually be placed onto the implant site to protect the area during healing.
Are the teeth difficult to clean?
No. Aftercare however, is important, to ensure a long-lasting, successful l implant. Your dentist will give you detailed advice on how to look after your implants. Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. There may be areas that are difficult to reach but you will be shown methods to help you. You may need to visit the hygienist more often but your dentist will be able to discuss this with you.
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 look after them well enough. If you keep them clean, and don’t smoke, then you should not have any problems. 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.
What if I have an accident?
Implants and the teeth they support can be damaged by an accident in the same way that natural teeth can. It is therefore important that you wear a professionally made mouthguard if you play sports that involve contact or moving objects. If there is damage, the teeth can be dismantled from the implant and replaced. However, if the titanium rod is damaged beyond repair, this part may be safely left in the jaw if it is too difficult to remove. Another implant may be placed alongside it to replace the damaged implant.
What happens if the implant does not bond 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. Or the dentist can make a bridge, using the implanted false teeth that have ‘taken’.
Is the treatment expensive?
Unfortunately, yes. However, in many situations, the cost of the treatment is only a little more than the cost of more conventional treatment with crowns and bridges. Over the longer term, implants are usually a more cost-effective and satisfactory option.
There are advantages to it too. An implant to replace a single tooth avoids the need to cut down the teeth either side for crowns or bridge. Normal dentures often mean you can’t eat or speak well, due to the dentures moving about. Teeth attached to an implant don’t cause this problem as they are anchored to the bone more firmly than natural teeth.
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