Q What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a small titanium fixture that is carefully and precisely is placed into the jawbone. Once it has been placed and healed it can be used to support a crown, a bridge or a precision attached denture. It becomes in effect an artificial root on which we can rebuild your smile
Q How long have they been around?
Although modern implantology began in Sweden in the late 60’s, popularity really grew throughout the UK in the 1980’s. Huw has been placing dental implants since 1986.
Q What do they look like?
Have a look in our Patient Gallery to see some examples of our work. Your dentist will also show you examples of work we have done.
Q What are the benefits of dental implants?
Your new dental implant will look and feel like a natural tooth. With dental implants you will have more confidence to smile and even be able to bite an apple! Dental implants can replace a removable denture with fixed teeth. Dental implants stop your gums and bone from shrinking which reduces the aging effect caused by losing teeth.
Q Am I too old for dental implants?
No. Any person at any age can have dental implants as long as there is enough bone available in which to place the dental implants. If there is not enough bone, extra bone can often be grafted. We have placed implants in patients in their 80’s and 90’s
Q Are implants safe? How long will they last?
Implants are a well-established, tried-and-tested treatment. If placed carefully and looked after 95-97% per cent of the implants we place last for at least 15 years.
Q I have some of my own teeth. Can I still have implants?
Yes. Implants are ideal for replacing missing teeth. They are not a substitute for your own teeth. We can place individual implants to replace single teeth or multiple implants to replace large gaps or even a full arch of teeth.
Q Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?
In most cases implants can replace missing teeth. However, we need enough jaw bone in which to carefully place the implant. Even if you do not initially have enough bone we can use special techniques to regenerate, rebuild and graft your bone to give us enough room in which to place an implant.
Q is the treatment painful?
Placing the implants requires a small operation. This can be carried out under local anaesthetic with sedation if needed. The procedure is done very carefully, gently and the anaesthetics we use are very effective. You will not feel any pain at the time, but you may feel some discomfort during the week following the surgery. This is usually due to having stitches in place, and the normal healing process. It will swell and bruise for the first few days and will feel uncomfortable but we make sure you will have antibiotics if needed and good analgesics to control and discomfort.
Q Would I need to do anything prior to treatment?
Yes. As part of our consultation we will screen your gums and bone for any underlying problems or infections. Prior to implant placement your remaining teeth and gums need to be healthy. We will advise and offer any additional treatment to ensure that your mouth is healthy prior having implants.
Q What if I am nervous about treatment?
If you are concerned regarding your treatment we can offer intravenous sedation to relax you during the procedure. A sedative such as midazolam can be carefully administered during the treatment, and ensure that you remember nothing about it afterwards.
Q How often will I need to have my dental implants checked?
It is essential that you continue to see your own dentist and your hygienist for regular check-ups and hygiene treatment. Clinical studies have shown that a yearly review with your implantologist is best for the longevity of your implants. Some patients need more detailed maintenance; this will be explained prior the commencement of your treatment.
Q Can I have the new teeth straight away?
No. The implant will need to heal and bond (integrate) with the bone after they have been placed. This takes up to 3 months in the lower jaw and sometimes up to 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 complete dentures, then you can wear them throughout the healing period once they have been adjusted after the surgery.
Q How long does treatment take?
In most straightforward cases treatment can be completed within 10-12 weeks. However in more difficult cases it can take up to 12 months from the initial assessment to the time when the artificial teeth or dentures are finally attached to the implants. However, if only the lower jaw is involved then it may only take around 4-5 months. A lot depends on how complicated your treatment is. Your dentist will be able to give you a timetable once the surgery has been done.
Q 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 give you problems and you’ll be shown methods to help. It is vitally important that you maintain a very high level of oral hygiene around the implants to prevent any gum disease around your new tooth.
Q 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 care for them well enough. If you keep them clean, and don’t smoke, then you should not have any problems.
Q 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 fixed to the implants by bars or precision attachments, then you’ll be able to take them out for cleaning and to be able to clean the implants.
Q Do the implants show?
Your dentist will try to make sure that 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.
Q 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.
Q What if I get hit in the face?
Implants and the teeth they support can be damaged by an accident in the same way that natural teeth can. However, if the false teeth are damaged and the remnants are left in the bone then they may be more difficult to remove than natural teeth would be. After healing, new false teeth can usually be replaced.
Q What happens if the implant does not bond (integrate) 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.
Q Is the treatment expensive?
When viewed over the lifetime of the implant and the benefit it will give, then no. It is an investment in your dental health and your smile. 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 to support a bridge. Normal dentures often mean you can’t eat or speak well, due to the dentures moving about. But teeth attached to an implant don’t cause this problem. We can offer 0% interest and low cost finance to spread the cost of the treatment. Ask your dentist.