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Implants - What Are They?

An implant is a replacement for a removed tooth root. The aim of the implant is to achieve an immediate close contact to the surrounding bone. The continuous growth of the bone surrounding the implant further enhances the implant stability.

Implant placement is a relatively simple minor surgical procedure that can be performed under sterile conditions in a dental surgery, under local anaesthesia
When implanted, the implant has an internal screw/thread that supports the replacement teeth and allows further components to be fitted on top. It is these components that provide the foundation for crowns, dentures or bridges for long term support.

Who are dental implants suitable for?

Dental implants are suitable for almost all adults with generally good health and oral hygiene. Younger patients are not suitable for dental implants as the jawbone does not stop growing fully until adulthood.

Not everyone is suitable for implants; your dentist will have a consultation with you before any treatment goes ahead to discuss your suitability for implants.
Those patients that smoke or drink heavily may not be suitable as they can interfere with the healing process and are not good for the long term health of the bone and gums that surround the implant.

How will you know if you are suitable for implants?

At your initial consultation with the dentist, you will have an extensive check of your mouth, including the gums and teeth. The dentist will ask detailed questions about your previous and current medical history and x-rays will be taken to further assess the condition of the teeth and surrounding bone.
If you are a suitable candidate for dental implants, the dentist will take an impress of your teeth and use thi8s to make a model of your teeth. Together the x-rays and models will be used to determine the best position for the implant, how many implants could be placed, and the quality and volume of bone that is available.

Do you need to have a healthy mouth?

If you have gum disease or have a history of it then it is likely you may have a problem with dental implants. If you are aware of having bad breath, loose teeth or excessive bleeding when b rushing your teeth, you may have gum problems. Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a major cause of bone loss and with bone loss, dental implants treatment can be more complicated but not necessarily impossible.

How long does the treatment take?

Dental implants are suitable for almost all adults with generally good health and oral hygiene. Younger patients are not suitable for dental implants as the jawbone does not stop growing fully until adulthood.

What should you know before you start treatment?

It is good practice that you should be given a written summary of your treatment planning, an estimate of costing and a copy of your signed written consent.

Is it uncomfortable when implants are being placed?

Most patients are familiar with anaesthetics used for routine dentistry and will know how effective they are. Implants are placed using the same anaesthesia.
The surgery normally involves exposing bone in the area where the implant is being placed therefore you should expect some minor swelling and occasionally bruising afterwards.
For most patients basic painkillers that you would take for a headache will be adequate for a few days. If you experience more discomfort than this, you should contact you dentist.

How long will the implants last?

How long the dental implants last will depend on how well you take care of them after the bone, teeth and tissues have adjusted. It is good practice for you to pay particular attention to your oral hygiene and attend maintenance review appointments. When the implants are not cared for correctly, they will develop a covering of hard and soft deposits (calculus and plaque), similar to that found on neglected natural teeth. If this is left untreated, the deposits can lead to infections of the gums, bleeding and soreness and discomfort. It could be said that implants can last as long as natural teeth when taken care of.
However, the implant supported teeth may require maintenance and replacement over time, just as you would expect of crowns and bridges.

How many teeth can be supported by implants?

Dental implants can be used to replace one or several missing teeth. All the common forms of tooth replacement, such as bridges or dentures can be supported by dental implants.

How do you look after the implants?

Cleaning your implants is not difficult and it is important that you maintain good oral hygiene with your implants to improve their life span. You may need to spend a little more time on your oral hygiene routine.
For implant-supported teeth you should be able to clean around each implant by brushing and flossing, just the same way that you would around your natural teeth and tooth-supported bridges. In some areas interdental toothbrushes and special floss may be needed to maintain good oral hygiene.

What can you do if an implant does not work?

The rate of survival for dental implants is around 95%. Implants which survive can however suffer other problems including periimplantitis, gum recession and fracture of the restoration.
Dental implants can fail for a number of reasons including smoking heavily and poor oral hygiene.
If the implant does not integrate with the surrounding bone it will eventually become loose and no longer be able to support the replacement teeth. If the implant does fail, it will not cause discomfort and if there are enough implants remaining, it may not be necessary to replace it.
You should discuss the possible complications that may occur with your dentist for a clearer understanding.



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