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What are dental implants?

Implants are one way of replacing missing teeth. Unlike other forms of replacement teeth, dental implants are small metal or ceramic devices not unlike a screw fitting which are inserted into the jaw during surgery. Teeth, in the form of a crown, bridge or denture, are then attached to the implant.

Am I suitable for dental implants?

Although there are many advantages to having implants, they are not suitable for everyone. You need to have healthy gums and be in good general health. You also need enough jawbone to take the posts and support the replacement teeth. Some chronic diseases, such as diabetes, osteoporosis or chronic sinus problems could interfere with healing and make implants more likely to fail.

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 dental 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 dental 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 replacements) there is no lifetime guarantee.

What is the procedure for having dental implants fitted?

The dentist will expose the bone in the jaw where the tooth is missing. Then he will drill a hole and insert a metal post into the bone. This is usually done under a local anaesthetic, but sometimes sedation is used. The gum is then stitched over the post and it's left to heal for several months, while the bone grows around the post, making it secure.

After this period, there will be second operation, in which replacement teeth are mounted onto the metal post. This requires a small cut in the gum above the implant. The replacement teeth might be single or in a group, and possibly as a 'bridge', attached to neighbouring natural teeth. They may be fixed permanently or attached in a way that lets you remove them for cleaning.

How long does treatment take?

Usually the permanent false teeth are fitted 3 to 4 months after the implants are put in.

Does it hurt to have an implant?

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.

Sometimes your dentist might give you a sedative if you are very nervous or if the case is a complicated one. General anaesthetics are rarely used for implants and are generally only used for very complicated cases.

Are dental implants the only option for replacing my missing teeth?

No they are not; you could be a suitable candidate for a denture, or even a bridge.

How do I care for my implants?

Your implants need to be taken care of the same as you do with your own teeth. They need to be brushed at least twice a day along with dental aids such as interdental brushes and floss. Your dentist will advise you on what the best floss is to use after having implants.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

We are pleased to be able to offer in-house dental implant treatment carried out by Dr. Pranay Sharma, BDS (Lond) MFDS RCPS (Glas) M. Clin. Dent. (Lond) MRD RCS(Eng), a registered specialist Prosthodontist. A comprehensive information pack is available. Please ask a member of our team who will be happy to assist.