DENTAL IMPLANTS FAQs
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a titanium metal rod which is placed into the jaw bone. It is used to support one or more false teeth. In practice, both the false teeth and their supporting rod are referred to as 'implants'.
Are implants safe?
Implants are a well-established, tried and tested treatment.
How long will they last?
90 per cent of modern implants last for at least 15 years.
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 health of the bone in your jaw. Your dentist will assess the amount of bone remaining. 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.
Are implants uncomfortable?
Placing the implants requires a small operation. This can be carried out under local anaesthetic. You should not feel any discomfort at the time but you may feel some tenderness during the week following the surgery. This is usually due to having stitches in place and the normal healing process.
Can I have the new teeth straight away?
The implants need to bond (integrate) with the bone after they have been placed. This takes at least 3 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper jaw. If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you will have a temporary restoration in the meantime. If you have dentures, then you can wear them throughout the healing period, once they have been adjusted after the surgery.
How long does treatment take?
It can take about 4 to 12 months from the initial assessment to the time when the artificial teeth or dentures are finally attached to the implants. A lot depends on how complicated your treatment is. Your dentist will be able to give you a timetable during the treatment planning process.
Are the teeth difficult to clean?
Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. However, there may be areas that are more complicated and you'll be shown methods to help.
If I had gum disease when I had my own teeth, will I get it with the teeth attached to the implants?
Provided you care for them properly, have regular checkups, keep them clean and don't smoke then you should not have any problems.
Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?
Most artificial teeth attached to implants can only be placed and removed by the dentist. However, if you have complete dentures supported by implants, then you'll be able to take them out for cleaning.
Do the implants show?
Your dentist will make sure the implants won't show during all normal movements of the mouth and lips. You will need to be able to see them so that you can clean them properly.
Do I have an implant for each missing tooth?
Ideally yes - however up to five or six implants can be used to replace all the teeth in one jaw.
Can implants fail?
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 implants that have 'taken'.
Are implants good value?
In many situations, the cost of the treatment is only a little more than the cost of more conventional treatment with crowns and bridges. There are advantages to it too - an implant to replace a single tooth avoids the needs to cut down the teeth either side for crowns to support a bridge.