This dental implants information was created by dentists with over 25 years experience. It is designed to help you make better decisions about your own health and let you know exactly what to expect if you undergo treatment.

Dental implants are now the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. Previously, a fixed bridge – supporting a false tooth – or dentures were used.

They consist of a titanium rod. This artificial root is then used to support one ore more teeth.  5 – 6 implants are enough to support a whole set of teeth.

They are matched to your existing teeth – this means that they are so natural looking that no one will ever know they’re not your original teeth.

Types of Dental Implants

1. Endosteal

The most common form. A titanium post is inserted directly into the lower or upper jaw. They are used to replace missing teeth, bridges or dentures.

2. Subperiosteal

A framework is inserted under the gum but above the jawbone. This framework then acts as roots.

3. Mini

Smaller than the standard implant. They are used to replace smaller teeth.

Implant Materials

Dental implants are most commonly made from titanium. They are strong, safe and integrate well with the jaw bone. Other materials include – zirconium, stainless steel and titanium alloy.

Things to Consider Before Dental Implants Surgery

Choosing the right oral surgeon is crucial to the results you’ll achieve and how long they’ll last for. Unfortunately, dentists who have only been on a weekend course, start proclaiming themselves experts at the procedure.  Check the credentials of your surgeon carefully. Implants are expensive…you want them to be right.

Smoking increases the risk of implant failure. Stop smoking at least:

  • 1 month before the procedure
  • during the 3 – 6 months waiting for the 2nd stage
  • 2 months after the artificial teeth are attached

That’s up to 9 months. Hopefully, you’ll have decided to give up permanently after stopping for that long.

dental implants on x-ray

dental implants on x-ray

The Consultation

Your surgeon will examine you and take x-rays. If there is existing gum or tooth disease or infection, these are treated first.

CT scans may be needed, as well as x-rays, to determine if you have enough bone in your jaw to accept the implant. If not, a bone graft will be required – from the iliac crest [hip bone]. The shape of the bone is determined to ensure proper orientation of the implants.

Questions to ask your surgeon:

How many of these procedures have you carried out?

What are your complication rates?

What are your failure rates?

What type of anaesthetics are available?

What are the advantages of each?

What is the total cost?

How long will treatment last?

Will I require temporary dentures during the treatment?

Dental Implant Procedure

Bone Grafting

If bone grafting is required, this is carried out in hospital. The graft is taken from the hip bone – during a general anaesthetic. You will normally stay in hospital for 1 night.

Delayed Implants [2 stage placement]

Treatment may be carried out under local anaesthetic or sedation.

An incision is made to the affected area. The gum is lifted to expose the jaw bone.

A hole is drilled into the jaw bone.

The implant is placed tightly into the hole.

The gum is sutured [stitched].

Immediate Implants

In this treatment, the titanium posts are placed in the jaw and the artificial teeth are attached immediately. This has the advantage of not having to wear dentures. Unfortunately, this procedure has a higher rate of implant failure. Delayed implantation is recommended.

Dental implants - gingival cuffs

Dental implants - gingival cuffs

Recovery

Bleeding needing a return to surgery is uncommon. Biting on a dental swab is normally sufficient. In some cases a surgeon may inject tranexamic acid around the implant to stop bleeding.

There will be mild discomfort for 2 – 3 days.

Swelling may be present for up to 10 days.

Temporary numbness and tingling can persist for up to 7 weeks. Permanent numbness is rare.

You will be able to return to work after 1 week.

Your surgeon may give you a week’s supply of antibiotics and mouthwash to reduce the risk of infection.

It is normal to allow time for the implant to integrate with the jaw bone – 3 months for the lower and 6 months for the upper – before attaching the artificial teeth.

Dental Implants Problems

Infection – requires treatment with antibiotics.

Failure [early or late] – can be due to infection, poor surgical technique and poor blood supply.

Fracture of the implant – requires removal and insertion of a wider implant.

Loosening – may be associated with infection.

Incorrect positioning – due to placement of multiple implants or poor surgical technique.

Dental Implants Cost

Varies dramatically due to:

  • experience and expertise of the surgeon
  • type of implant
  • whether bone grafting is required
  • if pre-operative treatment of gum disease or tooth decay is indicated

Expect to pay £500 – £2,800 for a single dental implant in the UK.

Summary

Dental implants are a safe and effective treatment for missing teeth or for replacing bridges and dentures. They are expensive and they do fail. Be sure to choose an experienced oral surgeon to carry out your treatment.

Implants can be damaged. They are also affected by gum disease. The length of time they last depends on the quality of the original surgery and how well you look after them.

Further Reading:

Dental Implant UK [UK dental implants dentists]

Dental Implants London [London dental implant dentists]

Cheap Dental Implants [How to find them]

Dental Implants Cost [What factors affect the price?]

Tooth Implant [Bone Grafting]

Tooth Implants [The basic procedure]