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Dental Implants FAQ

invisalign dental treatment
How long have dental implants been around?
The first dental implants were placed in the 1960’s. Since that time implant design has changed to allow quicker, more successful implant treatment.
How successful are dental implants?
Many scientific studies have shown dental implants to be very successful over many years. Several studies show implant survival rates of 90% or more after 10 years. In our Clinic we currently have an implant survival rate of 98%. We believe this success is down to meticulous attention to detail both in terms of planning and the way we carry out the treatment.
Is dental implant treatment painful?
The majority of patients have their implant treatment carried out under just local anaesthetic whilst some anxious patients have intravenous sedation as well. Once the gum has gone numb there is very little to feel whilst the implant is being placed. Afterwards most patients are pleasantly surprised by how little discomfort they have. A mild discomfort lasting two to three days usually occurs after implant surgery and is normally treated with nothing more than normal pain-killers such as paracetamol.
I am nervous about dental implant surgery. What can you do to help me?
The good news is that most dental implant surgery can be tolerated by the majority of people with nothing more than local anaesthetic. Once the local anaesthetic has taken effect you should not feel any pain or discomfort. There may be a slight sensation of vibration or tapping from time to time but no pain. Afterwards most people heal very quickly with minimal discomfort and need nothing more than paracetamol for a day or two. If you still feel nervous about the prospect of implant surgery then you can probably be provided with intra-venous sedation. This involves giving you a sedative drug. The sedative makes you feel calm and relaxed throughout the whole procedure and time seems to pass by quickly. At the end of the procedure you are allowed ample time to recover before you are discharged. If you do have sedation you need a sensible adult to take you home afterwards and to look after you at home where you recover further.
How long does dental implant treatment take?
Implant treatment times vary enormously depending upon individual circumstances. A simple straightforward case in the lower jaw can sometimes be completed in less than four months, whereas a complicated case in the upper jaw could be longer than a year. However, most cases take less than one year to complete. In certain circumstances implants can be placed and restored all in one day or over much shorter timescales than normal.
Why does treatment usually take so long?
Successful dental implant treatment depends on the healing properties of the jaw bones and gums. In order for the jaw bone to grow onto the dental implant there needs to be a period of healing. Similarly the gum needs to heal around the new crown (or cap) if a natural-looking and long-lasting result is to be achieved. Dr AJs’ philosophy is to carry out treatment the best way it can be without the emphasis on speed alone. Therefore sufficient time for healing is allowed before progressing to the next stage. This means that your treatment at our Clinic may take longer than at other clinics but the result is a predictably successful outcome. Our high implant survival rate (98%) confirms the sense behind this approach. However, as mentioned above, there are some situations where treatment can be carried out much more quickly and implants can be placed and restored in as little as one day. A thorough consultation will often reveal which technique will work best for you and how long your treatment is likely to take.
How am I assessed for dental implant treatment?
The first step to finding out if you are suitable for dental implant treatment is to have a consultation with Dr AJ. A typical consultation will last around 30 minutes to one hour. The initial consultation is free however, we would normally need to carry out a Cone Beam X-ray scan to assess the quantity and quality of your jaw bone. This will cost $200 and will include a comprehensive report. During the consultation you will be asked about your particular problem and what result you would like to achieve. Your teeth and gums will be examined thoroughly and any necessary dental x-rays will be taken. After your examination and x-rays Dr. AJ will discuss with you the results and present your options for treatment along with the benefits and risks associated with each option. In simple cases you will be talked through the implant process and shown models to help you understand how everything works. An idea of how long treatment will take and the various costs involved will also be discussed. This information will be confirmed in a thorough and detailed report.
Is age a restriction to implant treatment?
Normally a patient has to be at least 18 years old and preferably 20 before implant treatment can begin. This is to ensure that bone growth is complete. If an implant is placed too early and the jaws continue to grow this could leave the implant in a poor position leading to an unnatural-looking crown on top of the implant. However, there is no upper age limit to implant treatment. General health is more important than actual age. A 40 year old patient with poor health could be a poor candidate for implant treatment whereas a 70 year old patient in excellent health could make a very good candidate for implant treatment. In fact, the Clinic’s oldest implant patient is 88, is in excellent general health, and has two implants which support a full lower set of teeth.
Do your fees represent good value for money?
Our fees are a reflection of our experience, the service we provide, our attention to detail and our commitment to providing the best possible result. Dr AJ has a wealth of experience with dental implants, having placed his first one 6 years ago. Since that time Dr AJ has attended dozens of implant courses domestically and internationally. On these courses Dr AJ has been able to learn from some of the most highly-respected implant Dentists in the world. When patients attend our Clinic for dental implant treatment they will be cared for as individuals. We always make sure that there is sufficient time for treatment to be carried out in a relaxed, unhurried way with plenty of time available for questions. Dr AJ’s enthusiasm and passion for implant dentistry means that he is only too happy to answer questions on any aspect of implant treatment. An initial consultation generally lasts between 30 minutes and one hour and is always followed up by a detailed written report including treatment options, benefits and risks of treatment, costs and timescales. Treatment itself is carried out in a very relaxed, peaceful way with more than ample time set aside for the procedure in question. Patients can be assured of our undivided attention whilst they are with us. Dr AJ freely admits to being a perfectionist and always wants to do his very best for each and every patient. All this care takes time so we ensure there is more than enough available for each patient. At our Clinic we pride ourselves on our attention to detail whether that is returning a telephone call when we say we will or ensuring an implant is placed in the gentlest manner possible. All these things matter to us, big or small. The aim of all this care is happy patients with successful long-lasting implant treatment.
Am I put to sleep for my implant surgery?
Most patients have their surgery carried out under just local anaesthetic. Once the gum has gone numb there is very little to feel whilst the implant is being placed. However, some anxious patients choose to have intravenous sedation as well where a sedative drug is administered through a small needle. The sedative drug makes patients feel very relaxed throughout treatment and is extremely safe. Intravenous sedation is also recommended sometimes if patients are having a long session of surgery or for some types of bone grafting. If patients require major bone grafting (usually involving transferring bone from the hip to the jaws) then this is normally carried out by a Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon in hospital under a general anaesthetic.
How do I take care of my dental implants?
Caring for dental implants is very similar to caring for your own natural teeth. Good oral hygiene is essential to the long-term success of dental implants. However; cleaning around dental implants is just like cleaning around your own natural teeth. Therefore good toothbrushing technique, flossing and the use of small interdental brushes is important. It is also normally advisable to see a Dental Hygienist on a regular basis for thorough scaling and polishing. For the first few years you will be seen annually for an x-ray and an examination of the implant and the surrounding gum. This is essential to check on the health of the bone and gum around the implant. Although problems with implants are thankfully quite rare it is easier to treat problems that do arise if they are detected sooner rather than later. After the first few annual reviews the time between reviews is often extended to two or three years. If you smoke it is also strongly advised that you give up smoking before implant surgery and try to remain a non-smoker afterwards. Smoking has been shown to reduce the success rates of dental implant treatment both at the time the implants are inserted and also in the long-term afterwards.
I have a loose denture. Can dental implants help me?
Yes they can. Implants are commonly used to replace individual missing teeth but they can also be used to secure or stabilise loose dentures in either the upper or lower jaws. Instead of having a crown (cap) fitted to the top of the implant a precision-made attachment is fitted which inserts into the underneath surface of the denture, securing the denture to the implant. In the lower jaw this can achieved with as few as two implants. If there is sufficient bone available and you are willing to have more implants inserted then you can often be fitted with a completely solid set of teeth attached to the dental implants (a full-arch bridge). This set of teeth would stay in permanently and would look and feel very similar to a natural set of teeth.
What if I don’t have enough bone for dental implants?
If you don’t have enough bone for dental implants this can often be corrected with bone grafting techniques. Bone grafting involves placing some of your own bone or another material into the region of the missing tooth/teeth. After the bone graft has healed you can then progress normally as if you had enough bone at the beginning of treatment. Bone grafting can involve a number of different techniques and materials and your options will be discussed with you before going ahead with treatment.
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