Dental Implants FAQ
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium screws that are placed directly onto the jawbone, so they can serve as "roots" to hold the artificial teeth. They are used to replace a single tooth or several teeth which have been lost due to a dental disease or injury.
How successful are dental implants?
With more than three decades of clinical experience and over a million patients treated worldwide, statistics confirm the success rate of 95%.
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 be 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.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Anyone who is healthy enough to undergo a tooth extraction is likely a suitable candidate for dental implants. However, these are certain contraindications that may complicate or prohibit implant treatment. Patients with certain conditions, such as chronic diseases, heavy smoking or alcohol abuse may not be candidates for implants. Dentist at Smile Zone will determine whether or not this treatment is right for you after a complete discussion of your medical history.
Am I "too old" for dental implants?
The state of your health is more important than your age. If you are healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, it is likely you can have dental implants. A consultation with one of our dentists will help to determine whether implants will work for you. They do for most patients!
What are the advantages of dental implants?
Because the implants fuse to the jawbone and offer a secure base for the replacement teeth, some patients find this a comfortable option in restoring their smile. In many cases, implant-retained teeth look and feel more like natural teeth.
What are consequences of tooth loss?
Throughout the course of life, teeth are lost for many reasons.
Missing teeth at the front of your mouth can result in a visible defect affecting the appearance of your smile, your self-confidence and possibly your speech. Missing teeth at the back of your mouth can affect your bite, your face and your ability to eat. If untreated, missing teeth can cause loss of bone in jaw and can affect position of surrounding teeth.
What is the success rate of Dental Implants?
With the rapid advances in implant dentistry, dental implants can be expected to function indefinitely. Success depends very much on quality of the bone into which they are placed. For example, implants placed in the front portion of the lower jaw can have a success rate as high as 98-100%. In other areas of the mouth, success rates can drop due to the thinness of bone.
Occasionally dental implants do fail. In many instances, they can be replaced with another implant, usually of a slightly larger size.
How long does treatment take?
For routine cases insertion of implant can be between several weeks and six months. If the bone already present is robust, the treatment time will be shorter. With poorer bone more time and care must be taken, which can extend treatment time beyond six months.
While the majority of implant treatments are 100% successful, any problems with the implants integrating with the bone may result in the treatment time extending which patients must be prepared for.
Will it hurt?
While there may be some discomfort and bruising depending on your individual situation and restoration needs, many people are pleasantly surprised and report that they feel better than they anticipated after the procedure. The majority of dental implant patients return to work and everyday activities by the next day, are able to function normally between appointments, and are very pleased with the end result.
Are there any complications to be aware of with implants?
Occasionally complications do arise prior to or during the implant procedure.
- The most common is bone loss happened due to untreated tooth loss for long time, which can be rectified through preliminary procedures such as a bone graft.
- Occasionally, it may be necessary to have a sinus lift. This usually occurs when implants are needed at the back of the upper jaw - an area where the bone is softer due to the enormous chewing forces at work. Tooth loss and bone thinning can cause the floor of the sinuses to collapse, and need reinforcing via a bone augmentation procedure.
- Sometimes your body will reject the implant. This has to do with your body’s natural defense and is one of the reasons why patients with compromised immune systems may not be suitable for implants. It is therefore imperative that you discuss with your dentist about any pre-existing medical conditions you may have before committing to treatment, as they can seriously affect the prognosis of a dental implant.
- Other complication can be infection caused by poor aftercare and oral hygiene, which can prolong the healing process that is so vital to a successful implant procedure. It is therefore extremely important to follow the instructions given to you by your dentists in between appointments and avoid smoking and alcohol.
- Sometimes a patient may need a nerve relocation to accommodate an implant, but this is fairly rare and usually only happens where there is less flexibility about where the implant can be placed.
When can I return to work?
It may be possible to return to work the next day. Some people need to take some time off work, especially if the operation has been carried out under intravenous sedation. We will give you appropriate advice for your individual circumstances.
How long can dental implants last?
Implants can last for many years if cared for properly and may even last a lifetime. Unfortunately not everybody is the same and it is difficult to predict exactly how long your implants will last.
When should i get implants done?
Ideally, as soon as possible after extraction. In many cases, this can actually be on the same day. After a tooth is extracted, bone shrinks away year on year. And dental implants require enough bone to be present to work. For that reason, you should have implants placed as soon as possible.
Is the procedure painful?
No. Anesthesia is used during the surgical procedure to eliminate any discomfort. Our dentist may prescribe pain medication for any discomfort after surgery. Most patients indicate that the discomfort is minimal after surgery and many feel comfortable enough to return to work the next day.
Are dental implants easy to look after?
Compared to dentures, implants are easy to look after. Implant-retained replacement teeth are just like your natural teeth. They should be cared for and checked regularly. Implants are susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease, just like your natural teeth. You will need to see the hygienist regularly, and maintain your own oral hygiene to a high standard, again just like your natural teeth.