Do I Need Dental Implants?

Are you confused about dental implants? Do you want to know how to care for them? Maybe you’re concerned about the procedure? If so, read on to discover essential information and advice.

What are dental implants?

Dental Implants are a replacement for the roots of teeth under the gum line. These allow a prosthetic (crown, bridges or dentures) to be placed on top and act as a natural tooth replacement, functioning in the same manner as the teeth that the patient would have had previously. 

What types of dental implants are there?

There are variations in manufacturer and size. There are actually over 30 full-sized variations. However, once osseo-integration has occurred (the bonding process between the patient’s bone within the gumline and the implant), there are no differences for the patient in terms of feeling, function or look. No implant gives a firmer bite or better-looking smile over another! 

How common are dental implants?

Nowadays they are pretty common. They are the primary substitute of choice for those who have a missing tooth/teeth. Their design is the closest to replicating a natural tooth that we currently have. The numbers of implants placed in the UK is a small percentage compared to the rest of Europe, though growth is expected to be as rapid as it has been in the last few years (20-30 percent increase in use).  

Who are dental implants suitable for? (and who are they not suitable for?)

Dental Implants are only restricted in use by the condition of the oral environment of the patient in question and also through any medical conditions/medication that may affect the success/integration of the implant. Bone diseases such as osteoporosis and blood thinning medication can mean that the implant wouldn’t be as likely to integrate and so the dentist is likely to offer substitute treatments such as bridges, partial or full dentures in order to help replace any missing teeth. Smoking doesn’t rule implant treatment out but it does significantly reduce the chances of long-term success of the treatment. Guarantees may also be reduced if you do smoke.

Periodontal (gum) disease is also required to be well within manageable levels and stable for any implant treatment to be carried out successfully. Conditions affecting your treatment and it’s chances of success will always be highlighted at a consultation before you actually commence with any treatment.

How long do I have to wait after a tooth extraction/after a tooth falls out to receive a dental implant?

If an extraction has already taken place, 12 weeks is needed for the site to heal and bone levels to stabilise before we can 100 percent accurately confirm if implant/s are suitable for the patient. Occasionally, an implant can be placed at the same time as extraction and this too could be confirmed prior to an extraction taking place at one of our complimentary consultations.

What materials are dental implants made from?

Dental Implants are primarily made of titanium. Being one of the only metals that isn’t toxic to the human body, any pins/plates etc used in hospitals to help bones fuse after an accident or similar, are also made from titanium. The good news is that it won’t set off airport metal detectors!

How long does recovery take after receiving dental implants?

After implant placement, antibiotics, pain relief and an ice pack are provided to help manage any pain or infection whilst healing. For simple implant cases, patients usually recover within 24 hours. For more invasive cases such as after a sinus lift, the healing time may take up to five days. 

Are there any special measures I need to take to properly care for dental implants?

Your new implant retained teeth should be cared for at least as well as a natural tooth. Brushing twice a day and flossing between to ensure the gums are kept clean from harmful bacteria building up. Many clinics will offer a service to help maintain the results of your treatment.

How long do dental implants last for?

As with your natural teeth, they can last the rest of your life. However, just like your natural teeth, good oral hygiene must be maintained. Careful brushing and flossing is essential to prevent gum disease or peri-implantitis, both of which can affect the dental implants long term integration. 

Is the procedure painful?

The procedure itself is no more painful than an extraction at the dentist, just the reverse of this. In the 24-48 hours after implant placement, especially if there’s been any bone grafting or sinus lift needed, small swelling can occur, medication and ice packs will help limit this. The pain at any point is not unbearable, a fact proven by the numbers of people who return for additional implants after a successful first treatment.

We do recommend a friend or family member accompany for the implant placement appointment, but this is purely for the comfort of the patient rather than medically needed. Sometimes it can be mentally stressful for someone to undergo dental treatment and having someone to accompany them home can be helpful, but not necessary. Our team at Perfect Profiles clinics will always ensure a patient is physically fit and able before leaving the practice. Our customer service awards over the past few years are a great indicator of the extra mile our staff will go for our patients! 

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