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Are implants for me?

4 July 2013

Are implants for me?

40 years ago, dental implants were unreliable and expensive. These days they are predictable and inexpensive.

However, dental implants have now become the preferred option in many situations when replacing lost teeth. They can be used for the loss of a single tooth right up to the replacement of the complete set of teeth. So are implants for you?

Dental implants are metal (Titanium) cylinders that are place into prepared sites in the jawbone where they become solidly integrated with the bone. These cylinders or rods can then be used to support crowns, bridges and dentures, eliminating the need for conventional dental plates or dentures.


Are they long lasting and safe?

Dental implants are now a well-established technique with a success rate of up to more than 90% over a ten year period. The metal used, Titanium, is well proven for strength and safety in hip replacements and other surgical techniques.

What might make them fail?

  • Heavy smoking
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Diseases which affect bone, eg: kidney failure, thyroid problems, etc.

Your dentist will explain this at your consultation.

Can implants replace any tooth?

This depends on the quality and quantity of bone left in your jaw. The dentist will arrange some tests to assess this and if there isn’t enough it may be possible to graft bone to the area for the dental implants . Dental implants can be used for almost every situation where you have lost a tooth or teeth.

You can still have dental implants if you have some of your own teeth present. Sometimes your own teeth and the crowns attached to the implants are fixed together for added strength.

How are the teeth attached to the implant?

The implant is within the bone and the new crown is attached to this using metal connectors. There is no pain when this is being carried out as the implants are integrated with the bone and have no nerve fibres – hence no pain.

Your third set of teeth… Did you know?

Implants have revolutionised dentistry. They can be used to replace a single tooth or all missing teeth, giving levels of confidence and comfort never before available to patients with missing teeth.

What is the procedure for having an implant?

Placing the implant involves a small operation, which is usually carried out with local anaesthetic. You will feel no pain. The implant is placed into the bone and the area is closed using small sutures (stitches). These are removed after a week. The operation site may be uncomfortable for a few days after the operation and there may be some swelling but healing is usually quick.

The implant will now integrate with the bone so that it is very solid. Once this oseo-integration occurs the metal becomes part of the bone and would be difficult to remove. This stage takes around 3 to 6 months. You can’t have the teeth fitted straightaway, as the implants would not support the pressure of the bite on the restorations.

What happens next?

After the requisite time the implant is uncovered under a local anaesthetic.The crowns and bridges are made using similar techniques to the conventional crowns.If you need a temporary replacement whilst the crown is being made (for a front tooth for instance) this will be made so that it can be used from the placement of the implant, throughout the healing period and during the manufacture of the permanent restoration.

What if I have lost all my own teeth?

If you need all your teeth replaced then you would have a number of implants placed in each jaw. This would then allow the dentist to make a bridge, which is attached to the implants. This is probably the best way of replacing all your teeth.

Sometimes it is not possible to make a bridge. If the bone doesn’t allow the implants to be placed in the correct position for making a bridge then the dentist may decide to offer you a bar-retained denture.

This means that a metal bar is made to fit onto your implants and a denture attaches to this bar with clips. This is very firmly attached to the bar and is almost as good as a bridge. The denture can also be made so that it does not cover the palate or crowd the tongue and is removable for cleaning.

How long will this treatment take?

From the time you have your first assessment the treatment will take up to 12 months. If the treatment only involves the lower jaw then it may only take 5 months. This type of treatment is time consuming and the tolerance in making the attachments to the implants are very fine. The dentist will be able to give you an accurate timetable of the treatment.

How does this treatment compare with a normal bridge?

If you have lost a single tooth and have the option of implants or a bridge, what should you consider?

If the teeth either side of the space have no fillings then the implant is really the best choice as you don’t have to prepare the other teeth for crowns. The implant-retained crown will be just like a real tooth and you will be able to floss around it as if it were yours. This is especially important if the gap shows.

If you have teeth either side that are heavily filled and these need crowns, a bridge may be the best option for you. Do discuss all the options with the dentist.

How do implant retained dentures compare with standard dentures?

Even the best-made full or complete dentures are only about 30% as effective as natural teeth. Once dentures are attached to implants they become very secure. This means that you, the patient, can eat almost all foods without embarrassment and nobody will know that you have false teeth.

This treatment has now given rise to people calling implant-retained teeth “Your third set of teeth”.

What happens if the implant does not integrate?

On the rare occasions that the implant does not integrate then the dentist will replace it, usually free of charge.

What if I have an accident to the mouth?

Generally the trauma that will damage the implant is the same type of accident that would damage the root of your tooth. Often the implants are undamaged and can be re-used by removing the crowns and making new ones. If you play contact sports it would be advisable to wear a mouthguard to protect your investment in your mouth.

How do I clean around the implants?

You will be shown how to clean around your implants by the hygienist. This home care is very important and must be carried out every day. You will be given a variety of aids specifically for your particular restorations, with details about their use. You will also have a regular appointment to see the hygienist and your gum health will be very carefully monitored.

Dentures that are retained with bars can be cleaned with a small brush or soaked.

How expensive is this treatment?

Although implant treatments appear to be more costly, the benefits that you get are great. Permanent teeth that look and feel like your own, that can be used just like normal teeth and that last for many years can be a great investment. Likewise, a bar-retained denture that allows you to eat, speak and laugh naturally is a tremendous advantage.

Whenever you are having a tooth replaced you should at least consider the implant option and compare the benefits against the more traditional approach. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for and the implant is often the ideal way of dealing with the problem, although there are cheaper alternatives that may satisfy your needs.


A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, made of titanium screw that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge.

Over few months the jawbone will fuse with the metal screw. Crowns, bridge or denture can be attached to the implant to replace the missing teeth. Dental implants can replace one or several missing teeth. It can also support a denture and bridge.

Watch our video to see what involves in a dental implant procedure. Who is a candidate for dental implant? If you are missing one tooth, some or all of your teeth dental implant in the ultimate option to replace the missing teeth. If you have dental bridge, partial or full denture dental implant is the best alternative. The implants will last a life time however the crown on the top has to be replacing after 10-15 years.

The ideal dental implant candidate would have an excellent general and oral health. It is crucial to have a healthy gum before proceeding with dental implant. The jaw has to have enough bone for anchorage. Some people who have not got enough bone can still have dental implant but a bone grafting procedure has to be carried out prior to implant placement.

Commitment to taking care of your oral health, gum and teeth is vital in success of the dental implant. Daily brushing and flossing, and regular dentist and hygienist visits are very important.

Contact Surbiton Smile Centre ® today

Please get in touch if you are concerned about any aspect of your dental health. We will treat you fairly and honestly - and we look forward to being able to help you.

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