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Dental implants are suitable for patients over 18. If you need to replace a missing tooth, or teeth, they offer a permanent solution and, unlike removable dentures, do not need to be taken out for cleaning. Indeed, they can only be removed by a dentist. As they are as near to your own teeth as possible, it’s unsurprising that they are the preferred option as a solution to tooth loss by people of all ages.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a titanium screw that is secured into the jaw bone. An implant crown, or row of crowns is then attached to the titanium screw to create a natural-looking set of teeth that are strong, long-lasting and do not restrict your diet. What’s more, they’ll give you a dazzling confidence-boosting smile.
A dental implant can be used to replace a single tooth or all of your teeth. All on 4 (or 6) dental implants work by providing a strong anchor that replacement teeth can be connected to on the upper or lower jaw.This procedure allows you to replace a full arch of missing teeth with just four dental implants. The implants are supported by a fixed bridge or denture.
Implants are not a quick fix
It’s important to point out that dental implants will take time. If any natural teeth need to be extracted, there is a wait of at least two months for the socket to heal before the implants can be fixed. After this, the bone usually needs up to six months to fully integrate with the titanium implants. But once the healing process is complete, the new crowns will be attached to the implants over two visits. This would also be a same day procedure.
In some instances, it may be possible to place an implant at the same time of tooth extraction if there is no underlying disease. The crown would then be fitted 6 months later.
If a front tooth requires an implant, we would be able to arrange a temporary crown on the same day which would avoid the need for a temporary denture or bridge.
Are dental implants painful?
Your implant surgery will be done under local anaesthetic so you can rest assured that you will not experience pain during the process. However, it is a surgical procedure that involves drilling into the bone, which does mean you will experience pain, discomfort and swelling as part of the recovery. However, this is temporary and can be managed with painkillers. The pain and discomfort should disappear three to five days after your procedure. Any swelling will probably last a bit longer – usually for up to ten days.
You can choose to have implants placed with the addition of IV sedation where we arrange for a doctor to come and monitor you while the treatment is carried out. A lot of patients prefer this way.
How long do dental implants last?
If you look after your dental implants well, they will last for years! All you must do is look after them in the same way you look after your natural teeth – cleaning them twice daily and flossing daily. Dentures, on the other hand, will probably need to be replaced every five to eight years, mainly because your bone structure is likely to change over time, meaning dentures that fit perfectly now may not fit you so well in the future.
Regular six monthly check ups with your dentist are advisable, as well as three to four monthly sessions with the hygienist. You will also need to see the implant dentist annually to check the implant is doing well.
Are there any age limitations for dental implants?
There is no upper age limit for dental implant surgery. Your suitability for the process will be determined by adequate bone strength, oral health and any medical conditions you have, rather than by how old you are.
The minimum age you need to be to qualify for dental implants is around 18, which is usually the completion of skeletal growth and development (although some people do not reach this point until their early 20s). If someone gets an implant before they have reached growth maturity, there is a risk of complications in the future. If you would like to discuss dental implant surgery with us, click here to book your free consultation where we can discuss your treatment options, assess your suitability, and talk you through our payment options.