Many times I have been asked “can I have screw in teeth?” When I first qualified most patients meant a post crown, for which you need a natural root. Now most patients are referring to implants and the answer usually is – yes you can! Dental implants can not only change the way you look but the way you feel and the way you enjoy life.
Implants replace tooth roots. They are placed into the jaw bone and then used to support “teeth” above them, either crowns/bridges or supporting a denture. You don’t need an implant per tooth. In fact if you have full dentures having two placed, to attach the denture to, can make an amazing difference. Under proper conditions, such as careful placement by the dental team and diligent maintenance by the patient, implants can last a lifetime.
Can anyone have implants? Age is not an issue if you are reasonably healthy you should be a suitable candidate.
Implants need bone to be placed into, so part of the assessment to decide the treatment plan is assessing how much bone there is. Sometimes a CT scan is used to aid this. Some patients need a bone graft to add bone before they can have implants placed.
Implants will reduce bone loss – the bone around a natural tooth is maintained and constantly renewed by your body. When a tooth is extracted this doesn’t happen and the jaw bone continually reduces. This can leave you with less “gum” to sit a denture on and they become more difficult to use and it can also make you look older. An implant is like the natural root. It stimulates bone growth and maintains the bone structure.
What is involved? You will need to have an initial consultation to assess your mouth and jaw. To plan the most suitable treatment. At our practice this is an hour’s appointment. It is essential that your mouth is healthy before implant treatment so any issues will need to be dealt with.
Implant procedures are usually performed under a local anaesthetic at a dental practice. Some patients have some sedation to help them.
How will I be after the treatment? – The immediate effects can be some bruising, slight swelling and a dull ache. These will die down fairly rapidly. It is advisable to reduce your social activity for a week after but usually it is not necessary to take time off work. We often place implants on a Friday so you have the weekend to relax afterwards.
How long does implant treatment take? – Normal about 3-6 months. The implants need time to settle into the bone before they are used to support teeth. If bone grafting is needed treatment is 6-12 months approximately.
So if you need to lose a tooth and want to minimise the impact or you are struggling with dentures arrange a consultation and find out if implants are the solution for you.