A dental implant is an artificial replacement for a missing or damaged root and crown. Once fitted, implants are covered by a dental crown, giving a natural-looking appearance. They provide a long-term solution for those who have one or multiple missing teeth.
Dental implants provide a great way of restoring the health and stability of your mouth. If you’re feeling self-conscious about lost teeth, this dentistry procedure can allow you to smile confidently once again.
But, how do dental implants work? Are they right for you? How long does a dental implant procedure take? Are there any risks? And how much do they cost? These are important questions to consider when planning to get dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that’s screwed into the jawbone to replace a natural tooth and root. An implant consists of three parts.
The implant screw: A metal titanium post that’s screwed into the jawbone to serve as a substitute for the natural tooth root.
The abutment: A body that serves as the connector between the implant and the crown.
The overlying crown: An artificial tooth that’s placed over the implant device to give it a natural-looking appearance.
Should I Get a Dental Implant?
Getting dental implants, might be the right solution for you if:
You have missing or damaged teeth.
You can’t wear dentures.
You’re looking for a long-term solution.
If you don't smoke, this can negatively affect how successful the treatment will be.
Can Anyone Have Dental Implants?
While planning your dental implant procedure, there are also a few things that your dentist will look at.
Bone density in your jaw. If you have a low bone level then bone grafting might be needed before you can have implants fitted.
Any signs or symptoms of advanced gum disease. These should be treated before any dental implants can be fitted.
Any serious tooth decay has to be removed before you have your teeth implants inserted.
If you’re taking steroids or undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments, you might not be eligible for dental implants due to increased infection risks and other possible complications such as osteonecrosis.
The Dental Implant Procedure: Step by Step
Each dental implant journey is different, as the complexity of the treatment can vary from patient to patient. But, there are common steps involved that you can expect from your treatment.
To determine the best treatment plan for your needs, your dentist will carry out some pre-op planning. This will include an updated X-ray of your mouth to allow them to evaluate the health of your teeth and determine if tooth extraction, bone grafting, or sinus lifting will be needed before fitting your dental implants. During the first personal consultation, your dentist might also plan additional examinations or request a CT scan to check bone mass.
If your dentist finds that you don’t have enough natural bone in the area of the planned implant, they may recommend bone grafting. But, what is bone grafting? The procedure involves the placement of either natural or synthetic bone material to an area where there isn’t enough. Depending on the amount of extra bone mass needed, a bone graft can be performed at the same time as implant surgery or in a separate session.
When only a minor bone graft is needed, it’s possible to have the procedure at the same time as the implant surgery. But, if more significant bone grafting is needed, then it might take several months for the graft to create new, strong bone.
Attaching the Implants
This step can vary, depending on how many dental implants you need and the complexity of your situation. Typically though, surgery can last anywhere from less than an hour, up to six hours. The procedure takes place under local anaesthesia and is the same regardless of how many implants are fitted.
The gum tissue is opened to expose the bone area where the implant will be placed. Once the jawbone is exposed, the dentist will use a special drill to create the space for the dental implant. The implant is then placed into the jawbone and the gums are closed. Your surgeon will place a temporary crown, denture, or retainer to fill the hole created.
Healing and the Recovery Phase
Once the first part is complete, the next step is to allow the screw implant to become part of the jaw. This process is known as osseointegration and it usually takes around 3-6 months in total.
Attaching the Abutment and Crown
When the gum tissue is fully healed, it’s re-exposed to attach the abutment to the implant. Your dentist will take impressions of your mouth to create a crown in a dental laboratory that will be shaded to match your existing teeth. This process can take anywhere from 3-10 days. Once the custom-made crown is ready, it’s placed over the abutment, and the final prosthetic crown is fitted as a natural-looking tooth.
It’s common to experience some bruising and swelling following the insertion of a dental implant. This is usually a short-term side effect though and the long-term success of your new implant is reliant on keeping up good oral hygiene. Make sure that you have a good brushing technique, both for your implant and the surrounding gum tissue. Regular check-ups with your dentist — every 6-12 months — are also key to a long-lasting implant.
What to Expect After Treatment: Dental Implants Recovery
Getting dental implants fitted generally doesn’t result in a difficult post-op recovery period and most patients return to work the next day. But, after you’ve had the first part of the treatment — the fitting of the implants — it’s normal to experience:
Some pain around the implant site
Some minor bruising and swelling of your face
Minor bleeding of the gums
These should begin to ease after around a week. You’ll need to wait about 3-6 months before having the abutment and the crown fitted. This allows the implant to become part of the jaw and gives the gum tissue time to heal.
Dental Implant Risks and Benefits
Before undergoing your dental implant procedure, it’s important to be aware of both the benefits that the treatment can bring and the risks associated with it.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Approximately 98% of dental implant procedures are considered a success. The treatment provides a long-term solution for those looking to replace lost teeth. There are some key benefits to undergoing this treatment.
Increased comfort and confidence while smiling, eating, and talking.
A stable and long-lasting solution unlike other temporary dental treatments like dentures. With good dental hygiene, the implant device itself usually lasts a lifetime, while the crowns only need to be replaced after around 5-15 years.
A healthier jawbone, thanks to growth stimulation caused by osseointegration.
Dental Implant Risks
While dental implants can bring great benefits, there are also some risks associated with them. The main ones include:
Infection at the implant site.
Injury or damage to surrounding structures (teeth or blood vessels).
Nerve damage during the placement of the implant, causing pain or numbness.
It’s worth noting that health complications caused by dental implants is a rare occurrence and most of them can be solved with minor interventions.
Can I Replace All My Teeth With Dental Implants?
A common question when it comes to this treatment is “Can I replace all my teeth with dental implants?” For those looking to restore multiple lost or damaged teeth, there are two treatment options — all-on-4 and all-on-6 dental implants. These methods might be recommended if you have significant tooth decay or loss, or if you have a low bone density in the jaw area that prevents you from getting individual dental implants.
What Are All-On-4 Dental Implants?
The all-on-4 dental implant method involves a full-arch rehabilitation where all the teeth are supported by four implants. These implants — which need to support 10-14 custom-made crowns — are placed either in the upper or lower dental arch.
What Are All-On-6 Dental Implants?
For patients who have a larger number of missing teeth, the all-on-6 technique may also be a viable option. This works similarly to all-on-4 but involves the placement of six implants, rather than four.
How Much Is a Dental Implant?
The cost of dental implants depends on a variety of different factors.
Tooth implant prices might change depending on:
The material used to make the crowns
The number of teeth that are replaced
The position of the damaged or missing teeth
Whether bone grafting is needed
The dentist and clinic that you choose
Whether you choose to get dental implants abroad or in the UK
Below are starting prices for one dental implant across different countries. These prices are not fixed or guaranteed and they may vary depending on various factors.
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Why Choose Qunomedical?
With Qunomedical, you can be sure that you’ll get high-quality healthcare at a fair price. We’re an independent company that always puts patients first.
✔ 100% free, non-binding assessment: Our 100% free assessments are non-binding, so there’s no pressure to commit to booking a treatment through us after you receive it.
✔ World-renowned dentists: Our proprietary scoring system, Qunoscore, evaluates doctors on over 20 data points, looking at things like their qualifications, experience, accreditations, services offered, and reviews from past patients.
✔ Vetted and verified clinics: When it comes to clinics, we also use a thorough vetting process, analysing in detail factors like their prices, staff structure, treatments offered, accreditations, and reviews.
✔ 100% satisfaction guarantee: Our satisfaction guarantee is our commitment to ensuring that you receive high-quality care. If you don’t get the results you were promised, we’ll pay for a second treatment or give you your money back.
✔ Price match: We’ve done the legwork to identify high-quality dentists who offer treatment at a fair price. Found the same treatment at the same clinic offered cheaper somewhere else? Let us know and we’ll match the price.