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Dental Implants have been around for a while but are becoming more popular amongst patients. It is a fantastic option to replace a missing tooth/teeth without using any of the other teeth for support. A Crown, Bridge or Denture can then be placed on top of the Implant. It is important to maintain your teeth and Implants by visiting the hygienist regularly.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is used to support one or more false teeth. It is a titanium screw that can replace the root of a tooth. The titanium screw is placed in the bone, like your own teeth and then can be used to support crown, bridges or dentures.
Are implants safe and how long will they 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. It is important to have regular check ups and see the hygienist to help with the maintenance.
If you don't look after your implants they will develop a coating similar to what you get on neglected natural teeth. Left untreated, this can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and general discomfort.
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. We 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 implants without grafting bone into the area first.
Do implants hurt?
Placing an implant is often easier than taking a tooth out and is usually done using a simple local anaesthetic. You will not feel any pain at the time but, just like after an extraction, you may feel some discomfort during the week after the surgery.
How long does the treatment take?
We will be able to give you a rough time scale of the length of the procedure, but it does depend on how many implants are being placed and whether any bone grafting needs to be done. Usually the false teeth are fitted 3 to 4 months after the implants are put in.
What about aftercare?
We will give you instructions on how to look after your implant. They may give you some painkillers after the surgery - or make sure you have some at home - to take over the next few days if you need them.
What happens next?
After your implants have been placed, the bone in your jaw needs to grow onto them and fuse to them. This usually takes a few months. Sometimes the implants may be stable enough when they are placed for the false teeth to be fitted sooner than this.
If I had gum disease when I had my own teeth, will I get it with the implants?
Yes, if you don't care for them well enough. You can get ‘peri-implantitis’, just like gum disease but affecting your implants. We generally don’t place dental implants in people who are smokers.
Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?
Most teeth attached to 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.
Do the implants show?
Most implants look exactly like natural teeth.
Do I have an implant for each missing tooth?
If you have a single tooth missing, you will need an implant to support it. If you have a number of teeth missing, and these are next to each other, you could still have one implant for each tooth. Or you may find that, if you have two or more implants, they may be able to support more than one tooth each.
Where do I get this treatment?
We carry out simple implant procedures at the practice which we have provided for some of our patients. We do send cases to a specialist centre where they can carry out all the treatment or sometimes they place the implants and we can make the crown, bridge or dentures for you.