As the contemporary third option of tooth replacement, implants involve a metallic fixture that is screwed into the bone, and following a healing period, it may be built on to create an appearance of a tooth. The great advantage over other options is that it is standalone, meaning it will not affect the health or neighboring teeth. In addition, aesthetic results and longevity can range from 8-25 years based on home care and predisposing factors.
If dental implants are required as part of your treatment plan, this will be arranged with our implant dentist, who focuses his attention on implant placement alone.
For failing teeth that need to be removed, we place the implant or implants directly into the extraction sockets whenever possible as the tooth or teeth are removed (i.e. immediate implants). In addition, an immediate provisional or interim restoration of the tooth or teeth is provided so you can still smile whilst the implant stabilises in the bone.
Same Day Teeth
This is a great option for people who are already wearing dentures or are losing their teeth due to disease and breakdown. The is to provide a new ‘fixed’ set of teeth (either bridgework or a fixed denture) that are screwed onto dental implants which have been placed on the very same day. Initially these are a provisional set of teeth that look and feel great and are then replaced with a more permanent set some months later.
The ‘same-day’ concept can also be used for single teeth or a few teeth in some cases, but more commonly relates to a complete jaw or set. It can be done using the ‘All on 4’ technique or with 6-8 implants in each jaw depending on the needs of the case and on whether a fixed denture or fixed crowns and bridges are desired. All on 4 implants are a quick, and cost-effective dental treatment for anyone whose self-confidence and quality of life are affected by missing teeth. All on 4 implants even work in people who have a lack of bone although some bone rebuilding is often required.
Implant Healing Time
Recovery times from Dental Implant surgery can vary depending upon the individual case, the number of teeth affected, the individual patient, and importantly, how you manage your recovery process. 99% of cases are treated under local anaesthetic in the dental surgery sometimes in combination with intravenous or oral sedation.
In the case of simple dental implant placement, with little or no grafting (for example to replace a single missing back tooth, or an immediate implant to replace a failing tooth) there is little post-operative discomfort or swelling.
Patients will be able to continue life as normal with little inconvenience. A soft diet for a few days and careful brushing of the affected area is all that is required.
Typically in most cases after initial surgery to place implants, there is some minor swelling, mild discomfort and occasionally bruising that lasts for a few days. However, this is well managed by medication and the post-operative management the dentist will prescribe. After approximately 7-10 days a patient can return to their normal diet routine. In some cases, you may be advised to stick to a soft diet for up to 6 weeks post-procedure.
If there is a need to carry out any bone or soft tissue grafting at the time of implant placement then the swelling is tends to be more pronounced. However, the dentist will advise the appropriate aftercare regime and medication to keep you comfortable.
Is there anything that will negatively affect the implant healing?
Your recovery is hugely impacted upon by their lifestyle choices and tolerances. For example, If you are a smoker it is important that you minimise or preferably avoid smoking altogether for a week or so after any dental implant surgery. Smoking after surgery may increase the dental implant recovery time or cause potential harm to the healing process altogether, particularly if any grafting is involved.
Dental implant recovery time and the healing process can be delayed or impaired from smoking, poor diet, excessive alcohol use and lack of dental care such as regular brushing. Maintaining oral hygiene and home care is essential to recovery and helps to ensure that no plaque or infection builds up around the gums. The dentist and hygienist will advise you of the best way to look after your implant(s).
Problems with dental implants
Despite the many advantages offered by a dental implant, problems can still occur, particularly in patients with poor oral hygiene, heavy smokers or if the dental implant treatment has not been carried out optimally. Unfortunately, sometimes implant treatments are carried out by less experienced practitioners and, particularly in the case of ‘dental tourism’ and ‘budget dentistry’, treatments are inadequately planned and executed with the focus being on ‘fast and cheap’, rather than ‘excellence and long-term’. Just because something is cheap and well marketed, it does not mean it is always in the patient’s best interest. With the increase in popularity of ‘dental tourism’ and ‘budget’ dentistry we see more and more patients receiving inadequate implant treatments and because of our long-term experience and experience in dental implants (over 25 years), we increasingly see and are referred patients requiring re-treatment of dental implants.
Nevertheless, if the treatment is carried out to high standards by experienced clinicians and the patient looks after their mouth properly, fewer problems are likely.
One of the problems we see is gum recession on an implant. This can occur if the implant is incorrectly positioned or if there is inadequate bone or gum around the implant.
In addition, if you have any of the following you may be more susceptible to problems or complications with dental implant treatment:
- Gum disease
- Insufficient healthy jawbone and unsuitability for a bone graft
- Medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes or AIDS, which affect your body’s self-healing ability
- Any condition that affects your ability to clean your teeth well, i.e. that affects the use of your hands and arms
- A heavy smoking habit
- Lack of commitment to regular maintenance and proper home dental care
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