Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements that are used to counter tooth loss for both aesthetic and functional benefits. They are a long term solution (up to 15 years) and are stronger than bridges or dentures.
A dental implant is a titanium screw that is anchored in to a pre-drilled socket in your jaw bone to support a crown (false tooth). Once complete it is barely distinguishable from your real teeth and so it is an aesthetically pleasing result.
Typical success rates for dental implants after 5 years are as follows:
Lower jaw: 95%
Upper jaw: 90%
Be sure to check with your dentist that they have comparable success rates.
Will I be suitable for dental implants?
There are no age limitations for dental implants as long as your jaw is fully developed and you have sufficient quality and quantity of bone. If you are generally healthy and have good oral hygiene then you are more than likely to be suitable. People who may not be suitable are as follows:
- Heavy smokers: As it affects the healing process.
- Teeth grinders: Night time splint can be given if this is the case.
- Excessive alcohol intake: Affects the healing of the gums.
- Immuno-compromised individuals: People on steroids, receiving radiation therapy or who have an auto-immune disease may be unsuitable.
How many teeth can a dental implant support?
- Typically an implant supports a single crown.
- If several teeth are missing however, you do not need an implant for every missing tooth. One implant can support several teeth via a bridge or denture.
- If lots of teeth (10+) are needed, then the amount of implants would be decided depending on the particular individual and what the surgeon thought was the best option.
The Procedure: Dental Implants:
- Teeth and gums are first assessed for any signs of decay or disease and if present are treated first.
- If following X–rays and CT scans your dentist deems your jaw healthy the implant procedure can be started.
- The gum where the implant is to be placed is cut and pulled back and a small hole is drilled into the jaw bone at the exact location for the implant.
- The titanium implant is then tightly fitted into this socket and the gum stitched back over the implant.
- The implant is then left to heal and integrate with the jaw bone for up to 6 months with the patient given a temporary tooth (bridges) for that period.
- Once the healing period has taken place the titanium and bone should have merged to form a strong foundation. The gum is then lifted again and a temporary crown is attached.
- 4 – 6 weeks later when the surrounding gum tissue has healed the final crown (false tooth) is fitted and the process is complete.
Factors affecting the price: Dental Veneers
- The type of implant: If the price seems too low then check it’s not a mini implant they are using.
- Brand of implant: There are over 50 companies that supply the titanium screws to dentists all of different quality. Implants generally come with either a 5 or 10 year guarantee. Check with your dentist what implant they are using.
- The cap: This sits on the top of the implant and acts as a base for the crown. Check it is included in the price.
- Temporary Crown: Check this is included in the price.
- The skill of the surgeon: A higher skilled surgeon may charge a higher price.
- The particular clinic: This will vary widely.
- The amount of work required: If your jaw bone is not suitable for the implant then you may need a bone graft which will increase the cost of your treatment.
- The number of implants: The more you need the higher the price!
- The level of aftercare provided: Check what the aftercare includes.