What are dental implants?

Dental implants are used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. They are small metal screws (usually made of titanium, a titanium alloy or a ceramic like zirconia) that are placed into the jawbone to act like artificial tooth roots. Over time, they fuse to the jawbone and a restoration (false, yet natural-looking tooth) is fitted on top. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or many teeth

Will it hurt?

People are often surprised with how little discomfort is experienced during treatment. Just after the dental implants are placed in the mouth, any discomfort can usually be managed at home with normal painkillers. Some minor swelling occasionally occurs and is normal, this subsides within a few days after surgery.

How long will dental implants last?

Provided you look after your mouth, maintain good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly, dental implants can last many years. Dental implant treatment is akin to having a hip replacement – you would expect the artificial hip to last 10-20 years and then it might need re-treating. Dental implants require a similar approach. It is important that you look after your dental implants for the very best, long-lasting results.

How much does treatment cost?

Costs for treatment will vary greatly depending on how many dental implants you need, what type of false tooth (or teeth) you choose and overall treatment time. As every case is different, your dentist will provide a treatment plan tailored specifically to you, which will include all the expected costs. Dental implants are usually more costly than other options to replace missing teeth, but they are also likely to last longer.

Who is suitable?

Most adults with good dental and general health will be suitable for dental implants. However, every case is different so it’s important to speak to your dentist.

Who might not be suitable?

Young people whose mouths and jawbones are still growing are usually not suitable. Anyone who smokes or drinks heavily may also not be suitable for treatment. These habits increase the risk of problems with treatment so some dentists will wait until the behaviours are changed before placing dental implants. In addition, people who have gum disease may need to improve the health of their gums before dental implants could be considered. Those who are more susceptible to gum disease will be at a higher risk of developing problems, both in the short and long term.

How do you know if you’re suitable?

All you need to do is visit your dentist and ask them about treatment. They will perform a thorough assessment of your mouth and discuss your treatment options with you. Planning for dental implants usually involves a three-dimensional (3D) X-ray called a CT or CBCT scan. This allows your dentist to choose the most suitable length, width and type of dental implant for you. If they do not personally offer dental implant treatment, they might refer you to a colleague.

Post-operative instructions

  • For the next 24 hours avoid mouth washing, spitting, hot drinks, alcohol, strenuous exercise
  • Try not to stick your tongue into the socket to avoid dislodging your clot
  • Avoid extremes of hot and cold and attempt to eat on the other side of your mouth.
  • No smoking for 10 days following the procedure.
  • Take painkillers as instructed in order to relieve any discomfort. Please check for allergies.
  • Only after 24 hours, rinse 3-4 times daily with hot saline mouthwash (tea spoon of salt in a glass of warm water). Rinsing after meals is strongly advised.
  • In the event of prolonged bleeding, bite firmly on a cotton swab or a clean handkerchief for 10 minutes. Please time the 10 minutes with a watch.
  • If you get severe pain, swelling or prolonged bleeding contact your surgery immediately. In the event that the surgery is closed, please call 111 for advice, or attend your local A&E department.

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