A dental implant is a fixed option to replace missing teeth. An implant consists of a titanium screw, which is inserted into the jaw bone and allowed to fuse with the bone (osseointegrate). An artificial tooth is then attached to the implant and this is often indistinguishable from a natural tooth. Implants are durable, long lasting and made to appear as if they emerge naturally from the gum.
Benefits of dental implants
Implants give the most natural replacement to missing teeth as the ‘implant tooth’ appears through the gum like a natural tooth. They are strong and stable and it looks, feels, fits and functions like a natural tooth.
Fixed option – enjoy life without worrying about your teeth! They eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.
Replace missing teeth with no deliberate damage to adjacent teeth, unlike conventional bridgework. Dental implants go into the jawbone, in the position of your missing tooth. They also help prevent healthy, adjacent teeth from moving.
Intended to last a lifetime. Dental implants may need periodic adjustments, but they can last a lifetime when properly placed and maintained. Traditional tooth supported bridges last 5– 10 years but at some point they may need to be replaced.
Maintains bone – leaving empty spaces in your mouth can lead to deterioration of your jawbone. Dental implants preserve and stimulate natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss.
Ideally one implant to replace each missing tooth – but they can link bridges or help stabilize dentures.
Speech – adjusting to removable dentures can mean struggling to pronounce everyday words. This is not so with dental implants as they function like natural teeth.
Eat your favourite foods – eat virtually anything you want and, unlike removable dentures that can feel uncomfortable, you can experience the full taste of the food as your palate is not covered.
Cost effective – in the long run it can be a cost effective option.
Risks of dental implants
In order to fully evaluate whether dental implants are your treatment of choice, you should be aware of potential risks. The overall success rate for dental implants in a healthy individual and a well cared for mouth should be around 95% or more over a 20-year period. Risks of implant failure increase in heavy smokers, diabetic patients and people with poor levels of oral hygiene and some medical conditions. Possible problems that can occur are:
Implants can fail to integrate with the bone.
Loose or lost healing covers – very rarely the temporary healing cover that protects the implant during the healing phase can work loose or fall out. If this happens do not panic! Simply contact the practice for the healing cover to be replaced.
Torque controlled screws that link the implant and abutment can loosen, often noticed by a slight ‘clicking’ when chewing. This is the most common implant problem and is easily managed. The screw is simply checked and tightened.
Sometimes the porcelain can fracture from the crown and this may need to be replaced if it is a cosmetic concern.
Every effort is made to avoid the sinus, mental / inferior dental nerve during placement. These risks will be carefully discussed with you prior to surgery.
Infections – It is unlikely you will experience infection around an implant unless you are not cleaning properly. All patients will be given strict aftercare instructions.
Peri-implantitis / bone loss – if you do not look after your implant and infection persists for a long period of time the supporting bone will be broken down. This is called peri-implantitis. You may notice a space appearing between the implant and the adjacent teeth and bleeding of the gums. It is important to keep regular appointments and to visit our hygienist.
SECOND STAGE SURGERY – uncover implant, osseointegration checked, remove cover screw, place healing abutment, revise denture, x-ray to check implant –abutment connection if necessary
Gum heals around the abutment and forms a cuff through which the dentist has access to the implant when preparing the final restorative stage of placing the prosthetic tooth. Please keep very good oral hygiene
7 days after SECOND STAGE – stitches removed
14 – 21 days after second stage – Impressions for temporary / final abutment and implant supported crown
1 – 2 months after SECOND STAGE (depending on time for lab work fabrication) = New prosthesis completed and final attachment.
1 month after restorative treatment
3 months after restorative treatment
6 months after restorative treatment
How do I care for my implant?
Dental implants need just as much care as natural teeth. Implant crowns and bridges should be cleaned twice daily with normal tooth brushing and normal toothpaste. Cleaning around the gum line is particularly important and for this electric toothbrushes are very good. I advise twice daily the use of interdental cleaning brushes, around the implant neck, such as TePe brushes and super floss.
Regular visits to our dental hygienist is advised to ensure implants are being cleaned effectively and also to remove harmful tartar and plaque that may have built up. Failure to clean effectively can lead to inflammation and ultimately failure of a dental implant.
Mouthwashes are not necessary but there is no harm in using them if you feel it makes your breath fresher. They are NOT a substitute for effective brushing.
As part of the assessment for suitability for dental implants your level of oral hygiene and gum condition will be assessed. Implants will not be placed in any patient with active gum disease or poor oral hygiene.
Although a dental implant is an expensive option to replace a missing tooth, from my own experience I would highly recommend it.
The whole process was carefully explained to me at the start and I was kept fully informed during each of the stages. While the initial drilling necessarily gives rise to some discomfort, there was no pain and I felt confident that I was in good hands throughout. Great care was taken at each stage and after care has been exceptional.
My new tooth felt completely natural as soon as it was installed and has been completely trouble free. I am delighted that I had the work done.
I got my dental implant after living with a broken tooth at the side of my mouth which showed every time I smiled.
The procedure was spread over a few months and I experienced very little discomfort.
Galer and the team at Sharrow Vale Dental Care were brilliant. I was provided with a treatment plan and every stage was discussed in detail so you know what to expect.
Such a relief to get rid of the temporary denture and to be able to smile again without the gap.
My experience of having a dental implant has been a very positive one. Although I was initially apprehensive this was soon dispelled by the professionalism of the team and the comprehensive preparation of explanation and information provided of the process involved. This also helped to manage my expectations of the duration of time that was required to ensure a successful outcome.
My implant is a perfect match, and I no longer have any worries in relation to dislodging of a crown etc. I can now smile and eat with confidence and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend an implant to friends and family. I would like to thank the team who have always made me feel so welcome and continue to provide excellent aftercare and on-going advice.
My dentist referred me to Galer Farrer in February 2015 for a dental implant. I would be happy to recommend her as she had a very comprehensive and caring approach to my treatment.
I was, initially, uncertain about having an implant. Galer spent a considerable amount of time explaining all possible options and their advantages and disadvantages before I decided to go ahead. I particularly liked the fact that as part of the treatment planning I was given a full assessment of my dental needs including a comprehensive x-ray to ensure it was appropriate to proceed and from this an individual treatment plan was devised.
As it is quite a lengthy and complex process it was helpful to be given a written Full Case Assessment plan including a timeline chart outlining the purpose of each visit. The initial surgery to place the implant wasn’t as painful as I’d feared and subsequent visits were short. I am very pleased with the final porcelain tooth and it is an excellent colour match.
Galer was available throughout the process to offer advice, encouragement and address any concerns. In my opinion she has a gentle, calm and caring approach to dentistry.
I had two implants because of the loss of two teeth from decay. The alternative was a denture which I found to be a nuisance. I had to remove it when eating etc. I felt self conscious when smiling because of the gap where the two teeth had been. I received detailed information and advice throughout the process. The dentist explained why the process was so lengthy and what would happen at each stage. I was delighted with the end result and it was worth the wait. I feel more confident now when I smile. However, most of the time I hardly think about the implants being there. I look after them pretty much like I do my other teeth. The staff were all friendly and helpful. I would recommend implants to anyone who can afford it. My husband kindly treated me to them as a birthday present.
I have been using the denture now for four months and certainly feel like I made the right choice. It fits exceptionally well, does not move about and enables me to chew and bite with confidence. I find it easy to remove and fit for cleaning.
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If you have an urgent dental problem, please telephone the surgery 0114 268 6076 before 9.30 am Monday to Friday. We will try to accommodate you that day. Out of surgery hours - Please call NHS 111 for advice and assistance.