What is an Implant?

An implant is a specially made “anchor” which is implanted into the jaw. It acts like the root of a natural tooth, and a crown can then be provided to replace a tooth.

The anchor is a small titanium screw, which is made to resemble the root of a natural tooth. Because titanium is “inert” the body does not react to it, which means that the bone can bond with the implant. This is known as ‘osseointegration’. The surface of the titanium is treated to enable the implant to bond as strongly as possible, and to make the process quicker.

Dental implants feel and function just like natural teeth, without the need to use other teeth to support them.

How Can Implants Help?

Implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or even support a denture. The number and position of implants varies, depending on the situation. Your implant dentist will discuss which options are appropriate for you.

Do they work?

Yes! Implants have very good success rates, with an average life of 10 years. Even then, the most common problem is chipping of the crown, which can be easily removed and sent to the lab for repair. Implants need care and attention, just like natural teeth. Your dentist will show you how to take care of them, and regular trips to see the hygienist are recommended.

Here at Dart Vale Dental Care, we believe in providing the best dental care possible. We only use genuine Straumann implants and components, which are regarded as the leading implants available. Additionally, we endeavour to use evidence based approaches to your treatment, so that your treatment has the highest proven success rates available.

Implant success is reduced in smokers, those who drink excessively, those with periodontal disease and in ‘bruxists’ (people who grind their teeth).

Does it hurt?

As with any procedure, there is some discomfort following the initial surgery, similar to that of a tooth extraction. This can usually be managed with regular painkillers.

What is involved?

Assessment

At the assessment appointment, an in depth examination will be carried out. Photographs and x-rays will be taken, and if necessary further x-rays or CT scans may be ordered. You will also have impressions taken so that models of your teeth can be made. The dentist will discuss your case in detail including benefits, risks and costs. A treatment plan will be agreed. There is a small fee for this appointment.

Tooth removal

If there is a tooth in place, it will need to be removed before the implant is placed. The removal will be as gentle as possible, to reduce the chance of damaging any of the surrounding bone. The area will need to heal, which usually takes about 2-3 months. You may be provided with a temporary replacement solution during this time.

The surgery

Following any initial treatment, such as tooth removal or hygiene appointments, the next appointment will be to insert the implant.

First, local anaesthetic will be administered so that the procedure is pain free.

Then, a small incision is made, and the gum is pushed out of the way. Then, room is made for the implant by gently removing some bone.

After the implant is inserted, the gum is stitched back together, and the implant left to bond to the bone.

If there is not quite enough bone, some ‘false bone’ will be placed to encourage the body to generate new bone. Your dentist will inform you if this is likely.

The healing period is usually two to three months. Sometimes, you may need an extra appointment to un-cover the implant. Your dentist will inform you at the time of surgery.

Restoring the implant

Once the implant has healed, impressions can be taken. These impressions are sent to a dental technician, who will make you a custom built crown or bridge, which usually screws into place.

It takes the laboratory two weeks to make the crown or bridge. Your fit appointment will be followed by a review appointment, to make sure that you are happy with the work provided, take some photos and tell you how to clean your crown or bridge.

Time span

The time taken varies from case to case. For a simple case, it can be as little as 10 weeks. If teeth need to be removed, bone grafting is required or the bone is soft, time may be extended. Your dentist will give you an estimation of the time-span involved.

We do not provide same day implants, as evidence suggests that these are not as successful.

Aftercare

Regular check-ups and hygiene appointments are recommended to look after your new implant and protect your investment.

Why are Implants so Expensive?

There is no denying that the costs surrounding implants are extremely high. We try very hard to keep costs down, but the costs of the components, specialist equipment and training mean that implants are still costly.

However, it is worth noting that studies have shown that over time, implants are a cost effective solution when compared to conventional solutions like dentures and bridges. In addition, these studies showed that patients reported an improved quality of life with implant retained solutions.

Although the initial outlay may be more, the cost of a single tooth implant retained restoration pay off, and the long term maintenance costs are less than for a conventional bridge. With a single unit starting from £1950, we strive to be as competitive as possible.

What implants do you use?

At Dart Vale Dental Care, we only use genuine Straumann implants and components. They are widely regarded as the best implants available amongst the dental profession. Straumann have a long track record of success, proven in international studies.

With a Straumann implant, you can fully trust in its longevity and in the long-term availability of components. Straumann provides a lifetime guarantee for implants should they have to be replaced (subject to qualifying criteria).

For more information, please visit www.straumann.co.uk.