Dental Implants FAQs

Dental implants provide a permanent solution to the problem of missing teeth. In addition to improving the aesthetics of the mouth, dental implants also restore function. Review the following frequently asked questions to learn more about the dental implants procedure.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants can be used to replace missing teeth, either by themselves or to ‘fix’ on other structures such as bridges or dentures. Dental implants are made of titanium and are effectively a replacement tooth root on which we can either place a crown or cap, or we can use other attachments to replace multiple missing teeth. They are a very well researched, very reliable treatment option.

How many visits are required for dental implants?

The entire dental implants process can take several visits spaced out over many months. This is in part due to the fact that the bone must heal after the dental implant post is put in place before the dental crown can be added.

Who is a good candidate for the procedure?

The best candidates for dental implants are patients who are missing one or more teeth, are in good general health, have good oral health, and have sufficient bone density to support the implant post. If there is not sufficient bone density, the patient may be still be considered a candidate for dental implants, but an additional procedure is required to first address this factor.

Do dental implants look like my natural teeth?

Yes, the dentist will match the implant in shade, size, and shape to your existing teeth to create the most natural-looking, attractive results. Most people will be unable to tell that your dental implant is not your real tooth.

How do I care for dental implants?

Dental implants are cared for the same as natural teeth. Good oral hygiene, including regular flossing and brushing, will ensure that dental implants last a lifetime.

Can I whiten dental implants?

No. Only natural tooth structure can be whitened, so dental implants will not respond to teeth whitening procedures.

Can dental implants go wrong?

Failure rates in implants are very low compared with many other treatments. You cannot get gum disease around implants. Implants can fail for a few reasons; if there is poor healing of the bone, or if infection takes up in the gum around the implant – known as peri-implantitis. This can be treated by the dental hygienist or therapist under the direction of the dentist and so it is essential if you have implants placed that you see a hygienist at regular intervals and are meticulous with your cleaning routines.

Am I suitable?

Most people are suitable for implants with a few exceptions. There needs to be enough infection free bone to place an implant into. However, even if teeth have been missing for a long time, there are ways of augmenting or building the bone back up so often there are ways round this problem.

If you suffer from aggressive gum disease, it can sometimes be worth taking teeth out sooner rather than later to preserve the remaining bone. However, as soon as a tooth is removed, the bone starts to reshape and so it is often better to have an implant placed either straight away or within 6 weeks of losing a tooth.

Some medications affect the healing of the implant and so are people who take these are not good candidates. People who smoke can have implants placed, but are advised that reducing consumption around the time of healing will provide a more reliable outcome. Age is not a problem – we have placed many implants in people aged 80 and over with great success. At the younger end – it is best to wait until growth is complete so early 20’s is usually the safest age in young people.

Implants can sometimes be a more cost effective alternative to complex alternatives. We often see people who have had complex dentistry performed in the past which needs more attention. For example, failing root treatments or crown and bridge work.

Sometimes, a technique called All on 4 where four implants are used to support an acrylic bridge can be a more cost-effective alternative to complex dentistry, and often the teeth can be removed and the bridge fitted all in one day, without the need for a temporary denture.

If your questions haven’t been answered or you would like to book an appointment please call us or fill out the contact form.

Last updated August 16th, 2016