Dental implants offer an alternative to dentures. You'll need dental surgery to position the implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are prosthetic teeth that are held by surgical screws placed directly into your jaw bone. Implants can be used to replace one tooth or many teeth.
Are dental implants right for me?
Some people may not be a candidate for dental implants, so a critical step in the implant process is a consultation and assessment. Your consultant will review your complete medical history and make an oral assessment.
What happens during dental implant surgery?
Every tooth implant treatment plan is different. Be sure to discuss your individual treatment with your consultant.
Dental implant surgery is usually done using local anaesthetic. You may also be given a sedative to help you stay relaxed. The length of your procedure will depend on how many implants you are having.
If you need to have any teeth removed, depending on your situation, your dentist may be able to do this during the same procedure, or they may need to remove them a few weeks prior to your implant surgery. In some cases, removal takes place several months beforehand to allow your jaw to fully heal.
If more bone mass is needed in your jaw to hold the implants, your consultant may also need to perform a bone graft.
Surgery can be performed in either one or two stages:
One-stage implant surgery
This is also known as immediate implant surgery. During the procedure, your consultant will make a small hole in your gum and drill a small hole in your jawbone. A titanium rod will be placed in the hole with an abutment (connection point) exposed on the surface of your gum. The replacement tooth or teeth are then attached.
Two-stage implant surgery
If the surgery is performed in two stages, only the rod is inserted into your jawbone. You won’t be able to see the implant as the rod will be under your gum. You may be given a temporary set of dentures to wear while your jaw heals. If you wore dentures before your surgery, your consultant may adjust them so they can be worn during the healing period.
A few months later when your jaw has healed, you'll have another small procedure to attach the abutment to the rod(s). An impression of your gums with the abutments will be taken so that the dental laboratory can produce your new teeth. You'll need to return for a follow-up appointment to have your new teeth fitted.
Recovery from dental implant surgery
You'll need to eat soft food for the first few days after your surgery. Make sure you follow the instructions we give you about cleaning and brushing the area. Take over-the-counter pain relief such as paracetamol if needed.
Once you're fully recovered, your new implants and teeth should look and perform just like natural teeth.
Complications of dental implant surgery
As with any operation, there’s a small chance of complications, such as:
Specific complication of dental implant surgery may include:
- nerve damage
- fusion failure (implant doesn't fuse to jaw bone).
The healthcare team will do their best to minimise any risks. Make sure you discuss any concerns you have about these complications with your consultant.
Ways to pay
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