Q What are dental implants?
Q If I had gum disease when I had my own teeth,
will I get it with the teeth attached to the implants?
A Yes, if you don’t care for them well enough. If you keep them clean, and don’t smoke, then you should not have any problems.
Q Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?
A Most artificial teeth attached to implants can only be placed and removed by the dentist. However, if you have complete dentures fixed to the implants by bars, then you’ll be able to take them out for cleaning.
Q Do the implants show?
A Your dentist will make sure that the implants won’t show during all normal movements of the mouth and lips. You will need to be able to see them, so that you can clean them properly.
Q Do I have an implant for each missing tooth?
A No, unless you’re only having a single tooth replaced. Normally, five or six implants are used to replace all the teeth in one jaw, as each implant can usually support two teeth. For a few missing teeth, two or three implants may be used.
Q What if I get hit in the face?
A Implants and the teeth they support can be damaged by an accident in the same way that natural teeth can. However, if the false teeth are damaged and the remnants are left in the bone then they may be more difficult to remove than natural teeth would be. After healing, new false teeth can then be placed alongside the fragments.
Q What happens if the implant does not bond (integrate) with the bone?
A This happens very rarely. If the implant becomes loose during the healing period or just after, then it is easily removed and healing takes place in the normal way. Once the jaw has healed, another implant can be placed there. Or, the dentist can make a bridge, using the implanted false teeth that have ‘taken’.
Q Is the treatment expensive?
A Unfortunately, yes. However, in many situations, the cost of the treatment is only a little more than the cost of more conventional treatment with crowns and bridges.
There are advantages to it, too. An implant to replace a single tooth avoids the need to cut down the teeth either side for crowns to support a bridge. Normal dentures often mean you can’t eat or speak well, due to the dentures moving about. But teeth attached to an implant don’t cause this problem.
Q Where do I get this treatment?
A Talk to your dentist, so you can be referred to a specialist for assessment and treatment. Your dentist may already carry out some or all of this type of treatment and will give you the advice you need.