Is having Implants painful?
Generally not when compared to other types of minor surgery including tooth extraction. Most procedures are performed with local anaesthetic. Many patients suffer little or no pain the following day and many report that they do not need to take any painkillers whatsoever. It is quite normal to place multiple implants in one session with minimal discomfort.
How long does it take?
To place a single implant in a simple case can take as little as 20 minutes. The implant then usually stays buried for 3-6 months, during which time the patient’s bone should bond to the implant’s surface. After this initial healing phase, another short surgical session is sometime required to modify the gum around the implant if necessary, this often only takes 5 minutes. Once the implant is solid within the bone, impressions can be taken for the crown or bridge – the part that looks like the tooth.
The most time consuming part in implant is treatment planning.
What about mini implants?
These implants are smaller than conventional implants, and are much simpler to place. They are much cheaper but are not as strong as conventional implants. We would not recommend replacing individual teeth with this sort of implant, however they can be useful as temporary implants or to stabilise loose dentures. We do not routinely use them. We only use implants that have a proven track record.
How long do they last for?
As long as you keep them clean! Like teeth, implants require healthy gum and bone. The success rate is about 98% in general. Smokers enjoy a lower rate as do people with healing or immune problems. Remember that it is the patients bone that has to “bond” with the implant in the first place for implants to work. This is called ‘osseointegration‘. As with all dental treatments, no absolute guarantee can be given, however careful patient selection improves success rates. We will only treat you if we think that success is achievable.
It is imperative that implant patients attend their general dental practitioner regularly for check-ups so that the health of their implants, gums and natural teeth can be monitored and treated if necessary. Implants are susceptible to gum disease in the same way that natural teeth are and this can cause implants to be lost over time.
Can I have ‘Immediate implants’?
Immediate implants (implant is place at the same time as the tooth is removed), although en vogue recently, are not suitable for everyone. Studies show that immediate implants are nowhere near as successful or predictable as implants that are placed some weeks after the tooth is extracted. This is explained by a number of factors. In certain cases we are able to provide immediate implants, however we will only offer you this option if we feel it appropriate and in your interests.
Do you perform the surgery and the restorative part?
Yes. The most complicated part of implants surgery is the treatment planning – deciding what treatment is the most appropriate and in the patient’s best interests. Some ‘implantologists’ do the treatment planning, but not the surgery – they get someone else in to do this for them. This is not an ideal scenario. We are able to treatment plan, perform the surgery and complete the restoration (the crown/bridge/denture).
Why do you use implants from different manufacturers?
This gives us maximum flexibility for your treatment. Over the years we have become proficient using the products of different implant companies and we believe that this allows us to offer our patients the best possible result. We are fully trained in the use of these different implant systems.