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FAQ'S

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 when it fails. Just like a tooth root, it is placed into the jawbone. . When a tooth is lost, bone loss will eventually occur in that region because the root is no longer stimulating and stabilizing the bone. By using titanium--which biochemically joins to bone--to replace the root, you get a bond that more accurately replicates the one found in nature.

Are implants safe and how long will they last?

Implants are a safe, well-established, tried-and-tested treatment. It's probably true to say that implants, much like natural teeth, will last for as long as you care for them.
How well you look after your implants - and whether you go for your regular maintenance appointments - will have the biggest impact on how long they will last. If you don't look after your implants they will develop a coating similar to that found on neglected natural teeth. Left untreated, this can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and general discomfort. You could get all these problems with natural teeth.
If your implants are well looked after, and if the bone they are fitted to is strong and healthy, you can expect them to last for many years. However, just as with other surgical implants (such as a hip replacement) there is no lifetime guarantee.

What are the advantages of a single-tooth implant over a bridge?

A dental implant provides several advantages over other tooth replacement options. In addition to looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant replaces a single tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth. The other common treatment for the loss of a single tooth, a tooth-supported fixed bridge, requires that adjacent teeth be ground down to support the cemented bridge.

Because a dental implant will replace your tooth root, the bone is better preserved. With a bridge, some of the bone that previously surrounded the tooth begins to resorb (deteriorate). Dental implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact.

In the long term, a single implant can be more esthetic and easier to keep clean than a bridge. Gums can recede around a bridge, leaving a visible defect when the metal base or collar of the bridge becomes exposed. Resorbed bone beneath the bridge can lead to an unattractive smile.

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 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 treatment take?

We generally give you a rough timetable before the treatment starts.Usually the permanent false teeth are fitted 3 to 4 months after the implants are put in. Some teeth can now even be fitted at the same time as the implants (these are called ‘immediate implants') but we need to check out whether these are suitable for you.

What about aftercare?

We will give you detailed instructions on how to look after your implant & may give you some painkillers after the surgery 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 fitted for the false teeth to be attached sooner than this.

If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you may have a temporary denture in the meantime. If you have full dentures, you can keep wearing these while your implants are healing. Your dentures will need altering, to fit properly after the surgery, and a ‘healing cap' will usually be placed onto the implant site to protect it.

Are the teeth difficult to clean?

No. But aftercare is important if you are going to have a long-lasting, successful implant. We give you detailed advice on how to look after your implants. Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. However, there may be areas that are difficult to reach and you'll be shown methods to help you. You may need to visit us after every 3 months.

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 have them regularly checked you should not have any problems. Smoking also affects the health of natural teeth and implants. So, if you smoke, you may need to look after your implants more carefully.

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 two or more implants may be able to support more than one tooth each. We will talk to you about the best option for you.

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

This happens very rarely. If the implant becomes loose during the healing period, or just after, it is easily removed and your jaw will heal in the normal way. Once your jaw has healed, another implant can be placed there. Or we can make a bridge, fitting it to the implanted false teeth that have ‘taken'.