What is a dental implant?
An implant is a fixed prostheses made from titanium or titanium alloy. When fixed into the jaw bone they “osseointegrate” which means the implant develops and maintains a close union with bone in order to support replacement teeth. An implant can come in various forms dependant on the placement site and type of implant used. There are many companies that manufacture implants. The system we favour at Lion House Dental Practice, Buckingham is Biomet 3i & Straumann. The main aim during installation is to achieve immediate close contact with the surrounding bone. This creates an initial stability, which over time is enhanced by further growth of bone into microscopic roughnesses on the implant. Dental implants normally have some sort of internal screw thread. This allows a variety of components to be fitted. These components then go on to provide the foundation for crowns, bridges or dentures.
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Am I suitable for dental implants?
Firstly, not everyone is suitable for dental implants. If you have a good general health then implants will almost certainly work for you. Certain habits like heavy smoking or drinking can affect the chances of a successful implant greatly. It can delay the vital initial healing that is needed for the implant to succeed. If the patient cannot reduce, or ideally give up, smoking then some dentists may decline to placement of an implant. Your suitability cannot be determined until a full assessment is done by an implantologist. At your consultation you will need to answer detailed questions regarding your medical history and a full examination of your mouth and remaining teeth will be carried out. Up to date radiographs may be required. Also impressions for study models and photos may be taken.
Is it uncomfortable when the implant is placed?
In majority of cases the dental implant will be placed under local anaesthetic. If the patient is very nervous, sedation can be arranged. Depending on the complexity of your case, the procedure for a single implant can take around 30 minutes but this can be longer if there are multiple implants to place. Most of our patients experience a slight swelling the next day with the need to take a painkiller. Some patients have experienced no swelling or discomfort! Following placement we will provide you with a contact should you experience further problems. Stitches will be placed at the end of the procedure and will require removal a week later. This also gives us chance to view the healing site. You may be asked to take a short course of antibiotics to aid healing together with a dental mouthrinse.
Before you start treatment
Before any treatment commences a full consultation will be done. This gives you the chance to ask any questions regarding the treatment ensuring that you fully understand. You should be told how long the treatment will take, any other options you may want to investigate other than implants, costings and how many implants are required. You should receive a written letter to outline everything discussed before your treatment appointment. You will also be required to sign and consent to proposed treatment. You should feel no obligation or pressure to carry out the treatment.