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Dental Implants

What is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants enable the replacement of missing teeth, whilst giving confidence that they won’t come loose or fall out when eating tough foods. Implants look and feel like natural teeth, they are very durable and will last for many years if good oral hygiene is maintained.

A dental implant is a surgical fixture which acts as an artifical tooth rooth,usually made from titanium that is placed into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over the jaws of a few months. A crown or bridge is then fitted on top to replace the missing tooth. Several implants can strongly secure a denture in place and give you the confidence to eat what you want without worrying about them coming loose.

Patients must have healthy gums and enough jaw bone to support the implants.

How are Dental Implants fitted?

The procedure has several stages. Initially the implant is placed into the jaw bone and left to heal over a period of 3-6 months. During this time the implant integrates with the surrounding bone tissue providing a solid support for the replacement tooth.

Once the jaw has healed, an impression is then taken of the mouth and sent to a dental technician, providing the exact size and shape for the replacement tooth. The technician will then build a bespoke replacement tooth (crown or bridge) which will blend in naturally with the other teeth.

Once the replacement tooth is ready, it will be tried in place and small adjustments made to ensure you can bite comfortably. Once you and your dentist are happy, the replacement tooth is then secured in place.

How do I care for my implant?

Good oral hygiene is vital after implants have been fitted, avoiding gum disease, this will prolong the success and life of the implant. Your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to advise a suitable home care regime to ensure that good oral hygiene is maintained.

Do dental implants last for life?

Once a dental implant has integrated into the jaw bone, studies have shown a survival rate in excess of 90% after 15 years. However, studies have also shown that this is reliant on a high standard of daily cleaning, regular observation and maintenance with a dental professional.

Can Implants always be used to replace missing teeth?

Patients must have healthy gums and enough jaw bone to support the implants.

Is the process painful?

Whilst placing the implant into the jaw, a local anaesthetic can be used and sometimes sedation if you are very nervous. You will not feel pain at the time, but may feel some discomfort for the following week. This is usually due to having stitches and the normal healing process.

How long does treatment take?

They can vary,In general after the implant is inserted, you need to wait 3-6 months for the jaw to heal. Once healed, an impression is then taken of the mouth and given to a dental technician, who will build a bespoke replacement tooth to the required size, shape and colour. When ready, the replacement tooth can then be tested before being securely fitted.

Can I take the replacement teeth out after they have been fitted to the implants?

Most artificial teeth attached to implants can only be removed by your dentist. Complete dentures are the only exception to this.

Are the teeth difficult to clean after implants?

No. Cleaning the teeth attached to the implants are no more difficult to clean than your normal teeth. There may be areas which are more difficult to reach, but your dentist will show you different methods for best cleaning there. Regular trips to the dental hygienist are also recommended, but again, your dentist should advise you on this. Good oral hygiene is vital after implants have been fitted. As well as avoiding gum disease, this will prolong the success and life of the implant.

Do I have to have an implant for each missing tooth?

A single implant can be used if you are having a single tooth replaced. However, each implant can usually support two teeth, so five or six implants are usually used to replace all of the teeth in one jaw bone. Your dentist will be able to look at your individual requirements and advise you further.

What happens if the implant does not bond with the bone?

This happens very rarely. If the implant becomes loose during, or just after, the healing period, then it can be easily removed and heals in the normal way. Once the jaw bone has completely healed, can try to place another implant there.