The newest method in dentistry used to replace missing or extracted teeth is a procedure called dental implants. Dental implants consist of three key components – a screw-like piece of metal that is referred to as an anchor is first inserted into the jawbone, then a crown that acts as a replacement tooth is placed on top of the anchor, and finally, an abutment is used to secure the two together.

How does the anchor stay in place?

The anchor is made of very tough and durable materials called titanium and zirconia. Once the implant is inserted into your jaw, a process called osseointegration takes place where the bone that surrounds the implant begins to fuse to the anchor which strengthens it even further. It is not until this has happened that the replacement tooth will be fitted, but once in place, your new implant will be as secure as a regular tooth. Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

How much do dental implants cost?

Dental implants are created uniquely to fit the specific requirements of the patient and as such, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ cost. While they may seem like an expensive option at first, over time implants are usually a more cost-effective and reliable solution to missing teeth.

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How successful is the procedure?

Dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device at around 98%. However, a robust oral hygiene routine is crucial to ensuring their results for the long term.

Will it hurt?

For many people, the idea of having a metal screw inserted into their jaw is absolutely terrifying. However, since anesthesia is used during the procedure, you shouldn’t feel any pain. Some swelling and soreness afterward is fairly common, but over-the-counter pain relief is normally sufficient to alleviate any discomfort and these symptoms will usually dissipate by the next day.

I have more than one missing tooth, can I still have implants?

If you have a single tooth missing, then you will need an implant to support it. However, if you have multiple teeth missing, it is possible for two or more implants to support more than one tooth each in what is known as an implant-supported bridge. Your dentist will be able to advise you if this is a viable option for your personal dental requirements.

How long does the treatment take?

The length of the treatment depends on the extent of the work that is needed, but you can expect to make several visits to your dentist’s office over the course of a six-month period. Your dentist will be able to give you a more accurate treatment timeline based on your personal dental requirements.

Am I a suitable candidate for dental implants?

Although dental implants have an extremely high success rate, that does not mean that they are right for every patient. If you are considering dental implants, you will need to have a consultation with your dentist who will assess your candidacy based on your individual health and dental requirements. The ideal candidate will:

  • Have great general and oral health

  • Have sufficient bone in their jaw to support the implant

  • Have healthy gums

  • Be committed to taking very good care of their teeth and gums

People who may not be suitable candidates for implants include:

  • Heavy smokers

  • Pregnant women

  • Young people whose jawbones are still developing

  • Those with immune conditions

  • Those with uncontrolled diabetes

  • Alcohol or substance abusers

  • People who have received a high dose of radiation to the head or neck
    (for example, radiotherapy for cancer)

  • Hemophiliacs

  • People who have a suppressed immune system

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