FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a dental implant?
There are three separate components to a dental implant:
1- The titanium post or screw that is placed in the jaw bone
2- The connector (or abutment) which secures the crown or bridge to the implanted screw or post.
3- The ceramic crown or bridge that functions as a replacement tooth (or teeth), placed on the abutment
Unlike some other techniques of replacing missing teeth – this method provides greater tooth stability and allows patients to enjoy not only the look of real teeth but the feel and function of them too.
WHAT DOES THE DENTAL IMPLANT PROCESS ENTAIL?
The overall dental implant method can be quite a lengthy process. However, since they are a long-term solution that requires very little maintenance, this is generally considered a worthwhile endeavour.
• Meeting with your implant specialist who will assess your suitability for dental implants.
• Treatment plan with full costings and price breakdown is provided to allow patients to make suitable arrangements before treatment can proceed.
Prior to dental implant placement
• CT Scans are taken to help evaluate in a 3D image the health and condition of the jawbone. This is then used to determine whether a patient has the appropriate bone levels required to proceed with the implants.
• In some cases, if the treatment area does not comprise of a ‘clear area’ or if there are parts of the old tooth remaining, then an extraction surgery will need to be performed to remove it in order to clear an area for the implant.
• In other cases, where there is not enough bone to sustain the implant, bone augmentation or sinus lift procedures may not be required. This will be discussed with our Implant Specialist.
• Once a patient’s jaw and mouth are ready, surgery is scheduled for the post to be implanted. This is a surgical procedure that will take place under local anaesthetic. If a patient requires sedation or general anaesthesia this will need to be discussed and arranged prior to surgery. Although in 99.1% of cases this is not required.
The procedure is like having a large filling done. After the implant placement, you can expect to have a small amount of swelling for 3-5 days.
• Once the implant has been successfully placed, there is a waiting period of between 2-6 months to allow the jawbone to fuse around the implant. During this time, gaps can be disguised with temporary bridges, dentures or even a temporary tooth on the post itself.
Follow up treatment
• Once the implant is fully cohesive with the jawbone and all parts have fully healed, the abutment will be attached to the top of the implant.
• Images or casts of the mouth will be taken in order to create the new crown or bridge.
• At your final appointment, any temporary teeth will be removed and the brand-new permanent bridge or crown will be placed on the implant and abutment.
AM I A SUITABLE CANDIDATE FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS?
An ideal candidate for a dental implant will have healthy gums and be over 21 by which time their jawbone has ceased growing.
Having good oral health is a great starting point, so your gums, teeth and jawbone will be inspected to ascertain suitability for this procedure.
Your overall health must also be taken into consideration. Current medications and untreated conditions that can hinder post op recovery can be a problem and will need to be discussed with our implant specialist prior to treatment.
WHAT WOULD MAKE A PERSON UNSUITABLE FOR A DENTAL IMPLANT?
Dental implants are a long term solution to replace one or more missing teeth. They can be highly effective but not everybody is eligible for this procedure. Here are just a few things that will be considered when determining patient suitability.
In order for the implant screw (or post) to be placed within the jawbone, the bone itself must be healthy and strong. This means that those suffering from conditions such as bone loss or periodontal (gum) disease may not be suitable.
It is still possible for diabetic patients to qualify for dental implants, but their diabetes must be stable and well controlled. To help prevent complications, additional appointments with our implant specialist may be required as well as antibiotic therapy alongside the implant treatment.
Due to smokers being much more likely to suffer from a wide range of oral problems such as periodontal (gum) disease, bone loss and other inflammatory conditions – they are less likely to be suitable candidates for a dental implant, especially if they are heavy drinkers (over 15 a day)
However, if the patient’s jawbone and mouth are still in good health, there may be an opportunity for an implant treatment to be approved. This would be agreed and is usually a condition on the patient giving up smoking for life, continuing to smoke could result in the failure of the implant.
HOW LONG CAN DENTAL IMPLANTS LAST?
Dental implants are considered a long term, permanent solution for replacing missing teeth and, when cared for correctly, should last their owners a considerable length of time, even for life.
However just like with real teeth, because a person’s gums and bone can weaken over time, the longevity of an implant can vary.
HOW MUCH DO DENTAL IMPLANTS COST?
As with a lot of dental treatments, the price depends on the individual and what treatment path they will need. During your appointment, our specialists will break down the full cost of treatments for you to help make it as straight forward as possible. The Essex Smile Centre also offer a range of individual finance options for our dental implant treatments – which your dentist will be happy to discuss with you.
Implants are not cheap, but in the long-term this treatment can work out cheaper than replacement dentures (every 5-7 years) and less destructive than bridges that irreversibly damage adjacent teeth.
Here at the Essex Smile Centre we partner with STRAUMANN implants, the Rolls Royce Gold Standard System.