Like cosmetic surgery, cosmetic dentistry has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, and is no longer only for the rich and famous. Whether you’ve lost teeth through decay or by accident, the good news is that artificial dentures are no longer the only answer. With dental implants, you’ll:
- Find yourself enjoying food again
- See an improvement to your facial features
- Experience improved self-esteem
- Develop greater self-confidence
Today, images of surgically enhanced celebrities with a gleaming set of teeth are often the focus of attention. Now everyone can look like that, and at a price that won’t break the bank. There’s also a developing trend whereby people want to appear younger. Dental implants can also sometimes help with this.
About dental implants
A dental implant is a metal rod that is placed in the jawbone to hold a false tooth in place. They are usually made of titanium, a metal that is well-tolerated by the body. Over several months, the bone fuses with the metal implant. A small attachment is left protruding through the gum, and dentures or bridges can be screwed or clipped onto this attachment.
One implant can support one or more false teeth. Five or six implants are usually used to replace all the teeth in the jaw.
Why have dental implants?
There are a number of reasons why you may choose to have implants. Implants are an alternative to conventional bridges and partial dentures. If you find that your denture moves around a lot in your mouth, implants may help to anchor the denture in place.
When you lose teeth, your jawbone may start to shrink. Implants can help slow down this process.
Your dentist may recommend using implants to support a bridge rather than affecting healthy teeth either side of a gap.
Implants are not appropriate for everyone. You need to be in good general health, have healthy gums and your jawbone must be thick enough for the implant. There are, however, surgical procedures to increase the amount of bone in your jaw. Implants are more likely to be successful if you don’t smoke. Your dentist will advise you whether implants are a suitable treatment for you.
Implants may not be an option for people with chronic conditions such as poorly-controlled diabetes or osteoporosis. This is because the jaw may not heal properly and the implants may not fuse with the jawbone.
Are implants safe and how long will they last?
Implants are a well-established, tried and tested treatment. Over 95% of modern implants should last for many years with the right care.
Do implants hurt?
Placing the implants means a small operation. This can be done using a simple local anaesthetic, and sometimes with sedation if you are very nervous. You will not feel any pain during the procedure, but you may feel some discomfort during the week after the surgery. This is usually due to having stitches, and the normal healing process.
How long does treatment take?
The dentist will be able to give you a rough timetable before the treatment starts. Usually the permanent teeth are fitted 6 to 9 months after the implants are put in.