An implant acts as a replacement for a natural tooth root and will be inserted into a drilled opening in the jaw bone. Implants are cylindrical in shape and often appear like small screws.
Implants can often be placed on the same day as the tooth is extracted. If the implant has a screw thread at its exterior, it can be screwed into the socket, but if there is no thread, the implant is tapped into the hole. The primary aim of implant placement is to ensure immediate contact with the jaw bone, which creates stability that is increased by subsequent bone growth.
Once fitted, implants are able to support a range of different restorations, including crowns, dentures and dental bridges.
They are a replacement for the root of a natural tooth and appear as a small titanium screw. It is fixed into a pre-drilled hole in the jaw bone and can support a single or several false teeth.
Implants are an effective and safe method of tooth replacement, having acquired a very high success rate for many years.
Implants are a long-term solution for missing teeth and should last for around 15 to 20 years.
It is possible to have a single implant or a number of implants.
Implants are not suitable for everyone. Before you have an implant your dentist will check the health and density of your jaw bone, to ensure that it can support a dental implant. If there is insufficient bone tissue to support an implant, a bone graft may be required. This involves taking bone tissue from another part of the body to bolster the jaw bone.
The procedure to fit implants is done under local anaesthetic, but sedation is available for nervous patients. The procedure should not cause any pain, but you may experience mild discomfort for a short period of time after fitting. This is part of the healing process and you can take pain-relief.
It takes time for the implant to integrate into the bone tissue. This can take more than 6 weeks, but the time will vary according to the individual. If you are getting up to 3 teeth replaced, temporary restorations will be fitted while the implant heals. If you possess complete dentures you can wear them once the dentures are adjusted after the implant procedure.
The entire treatment process takes around 3 months. Treatment time will vary according to the individual and how complex the treatment plan is.
Dental implants can be cleaned in exactly the same way as natural teeth. However, there are some potential problems with implants. If you had gum disease before the implant was fitted, you may be at risk of the condition recurring, so it is important to keep your mouth clean. If you smoke there is a higher risk of implant integration failing. We advise all our patients to stop smoking and can provide information on giving up. If you do intend to carry on smoking we advise you to refrain for six weeks, before and after the procedure.
Usually teeth can only be taken out by the dentist, but complete dentures can be removed for cleaning.
Your dentist will ensure that the implant cannot be distinguished from other teeth.
A single implant is used to substitute a single tooth, but if you are having a complete set of new teeth, only 5 to 6 implants are required.
Implants can be damaged in the same way as natural teeth. However, if a false tooth is damaged this can cause pieces of the tooth to be left in the bone. This may make it difficult to remove, but it is possible to replace the false tooth once the bone has healed.
It is rare for an implant to fail to integrate into the bone. If the implant is wobbly during healing it can be removed and re-inserted when the jaw has healed, or your dentist may recommend a dental bridge.
Implants are expensive but they do represent a long-term investment. They have a host of other benefits, including the fact that they last for many years, restore full function to the mouth and look exactly like natural teeth. This all has positive implications for the function and aesthetics of the smile.
Our expert implant surgeon provides thorough implant consultations.
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