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Dental Implants - Questions & Answers

Any questions?

On this page we have tried to answer the most common questions that we are asked by patients.  If you have further questions, perhaps personal to you, then please do contact us to ask. Click to call (from a mobile) or email Guy Robertson.


What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth with a metal 'root' that is screwed into the jawbone.  An implant replaces a failed or mising tooth. When correctly designed and fitted an implant is indistinguisable from natural teeth and will normally improve appearance.


What are the main advantages?

Self confidence, a natural smile, no need to prepare healthy adjacent teeth to accept some types of bridges, protection of jawbone structure, no partial dentures or plates, improved function compared with dentures or bridges, normal oral hygiene.


Can implants support more than a single tooth?

Surgical implants support many dental protheses.  Implants can be replacements for a single tooth or multiple implants can support several teeth.  Implants can therefore be a good option to support crowns and a variety of bridges, and as anchor points for orthodontic procedures.


If an implant replaces a failed tooth will I have a gap?

No - we will arrange for you to have a temporary denture or other prosthesis until the implant and gum have healed and the crown can be fitted to it.


How do I know if I have enough bone to support an implant?

Our clinical assessment will check the shape and size of your jawbone, and the bone density.  If there is insufficient bone, or bone of poor quality, it will be necessary first to carry out a bone graft.  Bone can be taken from elewhere in your mouth or from your hip. Your own bone can be used in combination with artifical bone substitutes.


Are there contra-indications?

Yes.  The most common contra-indications are unidentified or poorly controlled diabetes, heavy smoking or drinking, and poor oral health. Teeth grinding (bruxism) and patients who are immuno-compromised (steroids, radiation treatment, auto-immune issues) are also contra-indicated.


An assessment of possible contra-indications is always an integral part of our clinical assessment.


Is age a determining factor?

Age per-se is not a major factor. Implants are suitable for young adults who have perhaps lost a tooth in an accident or pensioners who are in good health.


How much discomfort is involved?

Any surgery will involve some discomfort.  This is similar to that felt after a tooth extraction. Implant procedures are carried out under local anaesthetic similar to fillings and extractions.  For particularly nervous patients a general anaesthetic can be administered by syringe.  After implant surgery there will be some discomfort for a few days which is readily controlled by normal painkillers.


Will I need to take time off from work?

It could be sensible to allow the next day off although each patient is different in their tolerance of discomfort.


How long do implants last?

Implants are planned to be permanent. Our experience is that implants that are correctly fitted and maintained last for decades.  As with natural teeth good oral hygiene is very important, as are routine checks by your dentist.


Can an implant be rejected by the body or fail?

Titanium is biocompatible, meaning that it is not rejected by the body in the way that transplants can be.  Titanium bonds with the jawbone in a process called osseointegration (osseo, meaning bone).  An implant can fail if it is subjected to excessive forces or if an underlying disease of the body were to appear.


Can an implant that has integrated with the bone be removed?

Yes, although this is normally only necessary if the implant was fitted incorrectly by an inexperienced practitioner or if disease develops. In that case a special drill, a trephine burr, is used to cut round the implant and thus to allow removal.


What do implants cost?

Fitting an implant is a process requiring precision surgery and skilled dentistry over several appointments.  It is therefore unfortunately not cheap. A single standard implant costs from £4,750.  If bone grafting or sinus augmentation is required this inevitable leads to a higher fee.  We will always discuss the fee with you once our clinical assessment is complete.

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