What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a titanium metal rod which is placed into the jawbone. It
is used to support one or more false teeth. In practice, both the false teeth
and their supporting rod are known as implants.
Are implants safe and how long will they last?
Implants are a well established, tried and tested technique. Over 95% of
modern implants should last for many years with the right care.
I have some of my own teeth. Can I still have implants?
Yes. You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants Ė from one
tooth to a complete set.
Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?
It depends on the condition of your jaw bone. Your dentist will perform a
number of special tests to find out the amount of bone still there. If there is
not enough, or if it isnít healthy enough, it may not be possible to place
implants without grafting bone into the area first.
Do implants hurt?
Placing the implant means a small operation. This can be done using a simple
anaesthetic, and sometimes sedation if you are very nervous. You will not
feel any pain at the time, but you may feel some discomfort during the week
after surgery. This is usually due to having stitches, and the normal healing
How long does treatment take?
Your dentist will be able to give you a rough timetable before the treatment
starts. Usually the permanent teeth are fitted 6 to 9 months after the implants
are put in, but many implant systems now allow the time to be as short as 3
months. Some teeth can now even be fitted at the same time as the implants
(known as immediate implants) but you should check with your dentist to
see whether these are suitable for you.
What about after care?
Your dentist may give you some pain relief after the surgery, or check
whether you have them at home to take over the next few days if you need
them. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics. Donít smoke, exercise or
drive for the rest of the day. Donít rinse the area and only eat soft foods.
However, it is important that you keep your teeth clean by brushing Ė but do
not poke the implant site. You can use a chlorhexidine mouthwash every day
during the first week after surgery.
What happens next?
The implants need to bond with the bone after they have been put in. This
usually takes at least 3 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper
jaw. Sometimes the implants may be stable enough when they are fitted for
the artificial teeth to be attached much sooner than this. You may have a
temporary denture in the meantime. If you have a complete denture you can
keep wearing this throughout the healing period once they have been
modified after the surgery. A healing cap will usually be placed onto the
implant site to protect the area during healing.
Are the teeth difficult to clean?
No. But after care is important if you are going to have a long-lasting,
successful implant. Your dentist should 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 youíll be shown methods to help you. You may
need to visit your hygienist more often but your dentist will be able to talk to
you about this.
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 donít care for them well enough. If you keep them clean, and
donít smoke, then you should not have any problems.
Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?
Most artificial teeth attached to implants can only be placed and removed by
the dentist. However, if you have complete dentures fixed to the implants by
bars, then youíll be able to take them out for cleaning.
Do I have an implant for each missing tooth?
No, unless youíre only having a single tooth replaced. Normally five or six
implants are used to replaced all the teeth in one jaw, as each implant can
usually support two teeth. For a few missing teeth, two or three implants
may be used.
What if I have an accident?
Implants and the teeth they support can be damaged by an accident in the
same way that natural teeth can. It is therefore important that you wear a
professionally made mouthguard if you play sports that involve contact or
moving objects. If there is damage, the teeth can be dismantled from the
implant and replaced. However, if the titanium rod is damaged beyond
repair, this part may be safely left in the jaw if it is too difficult to remove.
Another implant may be placed alongside it to replace the damaged implant.
What happens if the implant does not bond with the bone?
This happens very rarely. If the implant becomes loose during the healing
period or just after, then it is easily removed and healing takes place in the
normal way. Once the jaw has healed, another implant can be placed there.
Or, the dentist can make a bridge, using the implanted false teeth that have
Is the treatment expensive?
Possibly not as expensive as you may think. However, in many situations,
the cost of the treatment is only a little more than the cost of more
conventional treatment with crowns and bridges. Over the longer term,
implants are usually a more cost effective and satisfactory option. There are
advantages to it, too. An implant to replace a single tooth avoids the need to
cut down the teeth either side for crowns to support a bridge. Normal
dentures often mean you canít eat or speak well, due to the dentures moving
about. But teeth attached to an implant donít cause this problem as they are
anchored to the bone more firmly than natural teeth.
Johnstone Dental Practice
10 Walkinshaw Street
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Telephone: 01505 321030
(c) Johnstone Dental Practice
Monday: 8.15am - 5.30pm
Tuesday: 9.00am - 5.30pm
Wednesday: 8.00am - 5.30pm
Thursday: 8.15am - 5.30pm
Friday: 8.30am - 5.00pm
Closed for lunch 1-2pm