A dental implant is a small titanium screw which replaces your tooth root. It’s gently and precisely placed into your jawbone by your dentist. Dental implants usually take 10 to 16 weeks to heal. This involves the bone fusing to the implant. Once the implant is fused, a crown (false tooth) can be fitted, or a bridge with three false teeth can be placed over two implants. Alternatively, the implant could be used to secure a loose denture. In some cases, temporary false teeth can be placed on the same day that the implant is placed, often referred to as smile or teeth in a day.
Implants are placed under local anaesthetic, which numbs the mouth to prevent pain. You’ll feel some discomfort once the anaesthetic has worn off, which could last for a few days, and you may notice bruising and swelling which could last for around one week. This is normal and any discomfort can be managed using over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. If you experience severe pain, contact your dentist for advice.
Implant treatment starts at £2,300. During your consultation, your dentist will perform a clinical assessment, so they can give you a full breakdown of the costs. You’ll then be given a personalised treatment plan, so you know exactly what you’ll be paying and why.
Dental implants can be suitable for adults of all ages but aren’t recommended for those under 18 as the jaw is still growing.
Most people are suitable for dental implants. However, the chances of your body rejecting the implant are increased in some cases. For example, if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, that isn’t under control, this could lessen your chances of success. Some lifestyle habits can affect how successful your implant might be, such as smoking, using e-cigarettes or taking recreational drugs. If you smoke, your dentist will advise you to give up as it can slow healing and affect gum health. Some people may need supporting treatment before having implants, such as a bone graft or a sinus lift. This is needed when there isn’t enough bone in your jaw to support the implant.
Implant treatment usually takes between three to eight months, but every case is different. It may take longer if you need extractions or a bone graft first. After your clinical assessment, your dentist will advise you, if you need any supporting treatments and give you a clearer estimate of how long your treatment will take.
Receding gums could be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease can result in bone loss around your teeth, which can cause your teeth to become loose over time and potentially fall out. Most gum disease can be prevented, or treated, but some people are very susceptible. Gum disease can affect implants in the same way, which is known as peri-implant disease. This can cause rapid bone loss and is much more difficult to treat. In all cases, any degree of gum disease should be treated and eradicated before implants are placed.
Implants can fail if your bone doesn’t integrate with it. Although this is rare and generally, over 90% of implants last 10 years or more. Certain lifestyle habits such as smoking can affect the integration of your implant, as well as oral health problems such as gum disease. It’s important to follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions and keep the implant clean. The first sign of an implant failing is very slight movement that worsens over time. Other warning signs may be loss of gum around the implant and severe pain or swelling (although it’s normal to experience some discomfort and inflammation during the healing period). If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to your dentist. After your implant is placed, your dentist will guide you on how to reduce the risk of your implant failing.