Implants - Know the Facts
Life leaves traces — including on the teeth. An accident playing sport, or a fall, can leave a gap in your smile at any stage of life. Caries (cavities) and periodontitis (bleeding gums), can cost you whole rows of teeth over the years. Whether you’re missing one or all of your teeth, there’s now an exciting option that will help you smile with confidence again. Thousands of people have beautiful smiles that have been enhanced by implants, which is essentially a tooth replacement technique.
Dental Implants Video
Implants are made of special biomaterials that are surgically placed in the jawbone under your gumline. After a few months the implant becomes anchored to the surrounding bone. A natural-looking replacement tooth – called an implant crown – is then permanently attached to the implant to replace the form and function of a real tooth. The finished result?... A restoration that looks so natural. No one will know it’s there except you! Implants can be used to stabilise dentures and bridges, and to replace just one tooth, or to rebuild an entire jaw of missing teeth. The best part is that they look and feel just like natural teeth.
Dental implants are very reliable. Patients have retained them for more than twenty years with a greater than 90% success rate. Dental implants have helped thousands of people to eat, smile and speak with renewed self confidence. Patients who practice good oral home care and regular dental checkups can enjoy implants that last a lifetime. We, here at Smile 360, can help you decide if a dental implant is right for you. The investment in your smile is well worthwhile.
1. Consultation and assessment.
2. The implant is screwed into the jaw bone and allowed time to fully bond with the bone.
3. Once the implant has healed and is secure, the implant peg is inserted to hold the crown.
4. The new crown is secured onto the implant.
5. Implants require regular checkups and good oral hygiene, just like normal teeth.
A to Z of FAQ’s and answers about dental implants
Is there a minimum age for dental implants?Bone growth should be completed at the time of implant placement. It can be assumed that this is complete by about the age of 18 years. Girls generally finish growing earlier than boys. In more difficult cases the state of the bone can be checked by an x-ray examination of the carpal bones located in the hands.
Is implant placement contraindicated at an advanced age?It is never too late to improve your quality of life with implants. The treatment is so low-risk that implants can be placed in patients aged 70, 80 or even 90 years. There is no upper age limit. If you are fit for any other routine dental treatment and you are in good health, you can also have implants.
When does aftercare start and why is it (alongside checkups) so important?Dental aftercare – above all this means professional dental and implant care. Trained dental assistants remove concealed and hard deposits with special instruments that you don’t get rid of with a toothbrush or interdental brush. They pay special attention to the places where the implant emerges from the gum. Bacteria in leftover particles of food and plaque can easily penetrate the gum and even the bone at these places. The result is infections, which in the worst case, can mean the loss of an implant. This can be avoided with regular professional dental cleaning to supplement your own care.
Airport security check
Will metal detectors beep at my implant, such as at an airport check?No, don’t worry about it. Implants are not magnetic and they are also much too small to trigger the detector. If the detector ever does beep at your implants, you will have your ‘implant pass’ that will explain the problem quickly and easily.
Is it possible to be allergic to dental implants?Dental implants have been available for more than 40 years. Over this long period of time no allergies to titanium implants have been reported. Titanium has no allergenic components and is completely neutral in the body. Of the materials used for crowns and bridges, ceramic has proven the most compatible with the body. The allergy risks vary for metals and plastics, so let one of our dentist advise you what material is best for your treatment.
Is a general anaesthetic necessary for implant placement?No. Local anaesthetic can completely prevent any pain. When we prepare the implant site in the bone and place the implant in, you will feel vibration and a slight pressure, but no pain. For most patients the procedure feels like a normal treatment for caries, which is also conducted under local anaesthetic. However, if you would rather go to ‘sleep’ during the treatment we can arrange for the treatment to be carried out under intravenous sedation.
I only need a couple of implants, but I would also like all my teeth to be whiter or more attractive. What can the dentist do help me achieve this?We can frequently bleach darker-coloured teeth. Unattractive front teeth can be coated with plastic or fine ceramic, referred to as veneers. The crowns for the implants will be brighter from the start or the new tooth shape will be modified accordingly. Here at Smile 360 we can offer a solution for almost every problem. There is no upper age limit. If you are fit for any other routine dental treatment and you are in good health, you can also have implants.
When is bone grafting necessary?If the jaw has no teeth and is not subjected to the associated natural chewing load over a long period, the bone gradually atrophies or shrinks. This is a similar process to that of a muscle that atrophies because it is no longer used. Certain bacteria can also destroy the bone, which is referred to as periodontitis, an inflammatory disease of the periodontium. If the bone is weakened or thin and an implant therefore cannot be placed in it, we may recommend bone grafting. The bone tissue is restored with autologous bone (i.e. from yourself), or bone replacement material, as efficiently as possible. The grafting material is layered directly on the bone and is gradually converted by the body to a strong bone substance.
Cardiac procedure pacemaker
Could implants affect my cardiac pacemaker?No. Implants have no electromagnetic effect. They cannot affect the operation of your pacemaker in any way.
What material is used for crowns?Most crowns and bridges are metal or metal alloys, which are veneered with ceramic in a colour to match the natural teeth. The high quality aesthetic alternative is porcelain. Zirconium oxide ceramic, with its high strength, is particularly suitable for implant-borne crowns and bridges. It is suitable for single-tooth crowns and also for larger bridges, and it reflects the light identically to the natural tooth enamel. This means that it is virtually identical to natural teeth.
How can I prepare for the consultation?You should be thoroughly informed before the consultation. You should also take advantage of the consultation to ask any questions that you might have. Make a list of questions beforehand so you don’t forget any. Don’t forget to inform us of any diseases you suffer from and medications that you take regularly - you could bring a note or a copy of your repeat prescriptions to remind you of this.
How much will it all cost?The cost depends on the extent of treatment. We will discuss this with you prior to treatment. All your questions about the procedure will be answered at the initial consultation.
Is the implant placement really a day-surgery procedure?Yes. Implants, whether it’s single or multiple implants, can generally be placed in one single session.
How do I care for my implant borne teeth?Implant-borne teeth not only look like natural teeth but also act like them. They can be cleaned just as easily with a toothbrush (including an electric toothbrush) and tooth paste. When cleaning implants, the spaces between the teeth and the transitions to the gums are particularly important. These areas are colonised by bacteria that attack the gum and over time they can also attack the jawbone around the implant. This can be prevented with dental floss or small interdental brushes. We will show you how to handle the instruments and will provide professional tooth cleaning at regular intervals, usually every three months. This will remove stubborn plaque, and your teeth will look as good as new.
If I am a diabetic can I still have an implant?Yes. However, your diabetes must be well controlled. Diabetes that is poorly controlled or untreated may adversely affect the healing processes due to metabolic reasons. If there is any doubt, we will consult with your doctor.
Are there any diseases that would prevent implant placement?Not really. If you have a serious general disease such as a cardiovascular disease, serious kidney damage, a tendency to haemorrhage or an impaired immune system, you should always inform us. In some cases, side effects of medications may affect the healing process, so we should also be informed of any medications that you take regularly. We will advise you of the options and assist you to make your own decision on the basis of your health profile.
How long does an implant last?After the healing phase, a correctly inserted implant will be more resistant to many influences than that of the natural tooth root. A titanium implant with the optimum prosthetic load will not break, and it is also immune to caries. Consistent oral hygiene will keep your gums and the implant site healthy. With appropriate care implants can last a lifetime.
Can I bite and eat normally with an implant-borne denture?Regardless of whether you have an implant-borne crown, bridge or denture, you will be able to eat, bite, talk and laugh just as you formerly could with your own teeth. The denture will be firmly attached to your implants and you can feel quite secure with it.
Foreign body feeling
Will implant-borne teeth feel like my own or will I feel as if I have a foreign body in my mouth?Implant-borne teeth will feel quite natural when you are talking, eating and laughing. You shouldn’t feel any difference.
Immediate Implant Placement
Can implants be placed immediately after removing teeth?Yes, this is often possible today. The implant is placed in the fresh wound immediately after removal of a tooth. This is referred to as immediate implant placement (not to be confused with immediate loading of implants).
What exactly does ‘immediate loading’ mean and does it apply to me?The usual plan for implant-borne teeth includes a healing phase with no loading on the implants after they have been inserted. In this procedure the gap is temporarily closed with a classical fixed temporary denture which is normally attached to the neighbouring teeth. However, in immediate loading, new implant systems and methods are used that, under specific conditions, allow the denture or the temporary denture to be attached to the implants immediately. Patients receive their implant and have fixed, natural looking teeth on the same day. Whether immediate loading is suitable for you will depend on the state of the jawbone and the position of the implants. Ask us about the options.
What are implants made of?Implants are pure surgical-grade titanium. The material has proven to be so good that now 99% of all dental implant systems are made of pure titanium. It is extremely stable and is very compatible with the body. Titanium also becomes firmly integrated into the bone tissue. These positive properties have been confirmed not only in implant dentistry but also in many other medical areas, such prosthetic joints, for many decades. The silvery-grey colour of titanium is also not a disadvantage, because implants, like natural tooth roots, are completely buried in the jawbone and are invisible. White implants, made from ceramic, are now also available. Current ceramic implants are made of extremely stable zirconium oxide ceramic. Titanium is still the gold standard of implant materials.
Are there any interactions with medications?This is possible with certain medications. For example, cortisone can change the metabolism and immune system of the body in such a way that problems with healing may be encountered. Anticoagulation medications, such as Warfarin, may cause serious haemorrhages during implant placement. If you are required to take medications regularly, you must discuss them with us. The pure titanium used for manufacturing dental implants is highly compatible with the human body.
Will I have to remove an implant borne denture at night?A conventional denture should be removed at night, because it may come adrift during sleep and may block the pharynx or the respiratory passage. An implant borne denture is normally fixed in place and can be left in place at night without danger. We will advise you about this.
Will I be in pain after the procedure?The gum will probably be sensitive in the first few days after the procedure but should not bleed or be uncomfortable after that. Your cheek may swell for a short time and may feel uncomfortable. However, most patients will not even need a painkiller on the following day!
Are there differences in the quality amongst implants?Like virtually any product there are very high-quality implants and lower-quality models. For example, there are differences in the shape of implants, particularly in terms of the surface. The surface of an implant can be modified to improve its compatibility with the surrounding tissues. Some implant surfaces are more compatible than others. At Smile 360, we will inform you about the characteristics of the implant system used. We will also inform you about the long term availability of replacement components, in case your restoration ever has to be renewed in the future.
Why can I trust implants?The design of implants is based on decades of research, development and documented clinical experience. They are the result of high-precision manufacturing. Starting from the purchase of the raw material, the entire production chain is subject to extremely rigid certified quality standards. All implants are made of pure surgical titanium and have a unique micro-structured surface, which actively supports the healing process of the bone. The highly developed surface characteristics make it possible for bone cells to be deposited directly on the implant to form new bone. Implants offer the best conditions for optimum healing and the formation of a permanent stable platform for the replacement of missing teeth.
Are there any risks involved with implant placement?An implant placement is a minor surgical procedure. Complications such as injuries to nerves and blood vessels during placement of implants are certainly possible. This is extremely unlikely. However, with the advances in diagnostics and planning, the risks are no greater than when removing a wisdom tooth. A sudden rejection reaction of a fully healed implant is also very unlikely. However, in rare cases the bone may not hold the implant firmly enough. In this case the implant would not be able to resist the biting forces it would be subjected to, and would probably have to be removed under local anaesthetic. In most cases the old implant could be replaced in the same session.
What if an implant becomes infected?When detected early enough, infections caused by bacteria can usually be treated successfully. If you attend regular appointments for dental care, and also clean your teeth regularly at home, you are unlikely to be affected.
Replacement and modification of the denture
Can implant-borne dentures be replaced or, if more teeth are lost, extended?Yes, the denture can be replaced or modified at any time. A single-tooth implant can be converted into an abutment (connecting element) for a bridge or prosthesis without difficulty, even after many years.
I already have a normal full denture. Do I need a new one for attachment to the implants?If the existing denture is able to withstand the optimum load of the implants and allows good chewing function, it can certainly be adjusted for fixing to implants. We can assess your individual situation and will recommend the best solution for you.
What happens if one of my own teeth is integrated into the denture as an abutment and is lost?If a tooth has to be removed, for example because of root inflammation or infection, it can generally be replaced by an additional implant without difficulty. The denture will then be modified accordingly.
Are dental implants advisable for smokers?The long-term success rate of implants can be endangered by smoking because of the effect nicotine has on healing.
Can I still exercise and play sport after implant placement?Exercise after implant placement is not a problem. However, you should avoid activities involving vigorous movement after the implant has been placed. A few days of rest may be recommended to avoid affecting the healing process.
When and how are the teeth placed on the implant?In a normal healing process the implants will be fully integrated into the bone in the upper jaw after about six months and in the lower jaw after about four months. The new restorations would then be fixed in place. We then uncover the “head” of the implant and temporarily screw on a small cap (called coping) to shape the gum correctly. An impression is taken at this stage. The dental technician uses the impression as the basis for the creation of your restoration. After the colour of the restoration has been matched to your own teeth, the restoration is securely attached to the implants.
Will I be without teeth during treatment and the healing phase?No. If you had a removable denture before treatment, it will generally only require a minor adjustment to allow you to continue to use it. If you did not have a removable denture beforehand, the gap can be covered with a temporary denture. In some circumstances it can sometimes be fixed to the implants immediately. In the case of such long-term temporary dentures, there are very sophisticated solutions that are virtually indistinguishable from the final crowns and your natural teeth.
How many appointments will be required for my new tooth roots?This depends on the scope and type of treatment. One session is usually enough for the consultation at which we will be able to answer your questions. The next appointment will be for the preliminary examinations and planning. The new tooth roots can generally be inserted in the jaw bone a short time later in one treatment session. In this procedure we make a small incision in the gum, which is then sutured over the implant after insertion of the implant. The wound is checked to ensure that it is healing properly one or two days after implant placement. After about ten days the sutures are removed. You then wait for the bone to regenerate during the healing phase without any more treatment sessions.
When can I go back to work again?You are usually able to go about your normal activities the same day of the operation, and go back to work the next day.
Implant treatment process
- 1. Consultation Oral health is assessed, a scan is taken to evaluate the quality and quantity of the bone. Treatment plan and costs will be discussed.
- 2. Implant Placement Using the scan images to direct the placement and ascertain the type of implant to use, a titanium implant is carefully screwed into the bone.
- 3. Implant Integration The implant integrates with the bone. This is called ‘osseointegration’ and can take 2 to 8 months, depending on the patients treatment plan.
- 4. Restoration The phase where the crown/bridge/denture are created and placed onto the implant. This phase may require multiple appointments.
- 5. Aftercare It is imperative that you follow an improved hygiene regime to maintain good oral health and help the longevity of your dental implants.