Dr Steven Salt BDS MDent is our resident Prosthodontist. He will assess whether you are suitable for implants, and then outline the
Why would I need an implant?
If you have missing a front tooth or teeth and do not wish to wear a denture or bridging the teeth is not the best option for better aesthetics or phonetics.
If you are missing teeth at the back and so are not able to chew, implants will help to restore your function.
If you have a denture in place already and do not wish to continue wearing the denture if it does not have a good fit or does not feel very secure, you could have implant retained crowns or implant retained bridges or an implant retained denture.
They can be used in orthodontics for anchorage to help move teeth.
What is a dental implant?
An implant is a small titanium post, used as an artificial replacement for missing teeth. The implant is placed into the jaw bone and can be used to support one or more crowns, bridges or a denture.
What does the procedure involve?
There are three main stages to implant placement
Stage 1: Planning
Careful planning and assessment is required before proceeding with implant procedure. This helps to determine the positioning of important anatomy, and assess the one levels, density and shape. Radiographs will be needed to help provide the information required.
The implant can be placed under local anaesthetic alone. If, however, the treatment involves placement of several implants and will be a lengthy procedure, then IV Sedation may be a good option to consider. The sedation just means you will still be conscious, but will have no recollection of the procedure.
Stage 2: The Surgery
The surgery is carried out by an Implantologist. During the surgical procedure, the implantologist will raise a small flap in your gum so that a small socket can be created in your bone, corresponding to where you wish to have the implant placed. The titanium implant is then screwed into the socket, followed by the gum being stitched over the implant. The titanium screws come in different shapes and sizes, and the Implantologist will chose which size is best suited to replace your missing teeth, depending on the individual circumstances. If there is insufficient bone levels, a bone graft may be required prior to the titanium implant being placed.
Stage 3: The Restoration Stage
It takes about 3 – 6 months for your implant to integrate with your bone. During the healing period of time, you may have a temporary restoration for cosmetics and function. Once the implant has fully healed, it can be restored with a crown, denture or bridge.
What is a mini-implant?
A mini-implant is an implant which can be restored immediately, and does not need to wait for the healing period of 3-6 months.
Is the procedure uncomfortable?
As a local anaesthetic is used, you should feel no discomfort during the procedure. If you do, you may request additional anaesthetic to help reduce discomfort.
Following the surgery, you will be advised to expect some discomfort, which is normal post operative discomfort, associated with the healing process.
What are the advantages of implants?
- They are so natural looking, you will not be aware you have a false tooth in your mouth
- They feel like a natural tooth, and so will not affect your natural function such as chewing a speaking
- They can last longer than the other alternatives such as bridges and dentures
- They do not rely on the adjacent teeth for retention – as in their alternative bridges
- They slow done the rate of bone loss
- They are easier to clean than the alternatives such as bridges
What are the disadvantages of implants?
- They are a costly investment costing anything from £2500 per implant
- A bone graft may be required in order to have good sound and healthy bone structure to allow good integration of the implant
- The procedure can take up to 3 or 6 months to complete, depending on the individual case
- The healing process can take a long time and is influenced by several factors such as age, health
- If the healing does not happen as quick as was expected, this can be very disheartening for the patient
- Titanium is known to be well accepted by the body, but all patients undergoing the treatment will be warned of the risks of treatment, and that there is a chance the body may not tolerate the implant and reject the implant
How long does an implant last?
Dental Implants have been used for the past 30 years. If you look after them well by maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist and hygiene regularly, they can last a lifetime.