What are dental implants?

What are dental implants?

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is a titanium metal rod which is placed into the jawbone.  It is used to support one or more false teeth.  In practice, both the false teeth and their supporting rod are known as ‘implants’.

Are implants safe?  How long will they last?

Implants are a well-established, tried-and-tested treatment.  90 per cent of modern implants last for at least 15 years.

I have some of my own teeth.  Can I still have implants?

Yes.  You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants – from one single tooth to a complete set.

Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?

It depends on the state of the bone in your jaw.  Your dentist will arrange for a number of special tests to assess the amount of bone still there.  If there is not enough, or if it isn’t healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first.

Do implants hurt?

Placing the implants requires a small operation.  This can be carried out under local anaesthetic with sedation or with a general anaesthetic.  You will not feel any pain at the time, but you may feel some discomfort during the week following the surgery.  This is usually due to having stitches in place, and the normal healing process.

Can I have the new teeth straight away?

No.  The implants need to bond (integrate) with the bone after they have been placed.  This takes at least 3 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper jaw.  If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you will have a temporary restoration in the meantime.  If you have complete dentures, then you can wear them throughout the healing period once they have been adjusted after the surgery.