What are dental implants?
An implant is a titanium post that is placed into and biologically fuses with the jawbone to replace the root of a missing tooth. This is as close as you can get to having a natural tooth back. Dental implants have the highest success rate of any type of dental treatment, over 90% success at 20 years.
Dental implants for fixed prosthetic teeth: Implants can be used to support any number of fixed prosthetic teeth, which are screwed or cemented onto the implant(s). A full arch of teeth can be supported on 5 or more implants. Implants are the most conservative way to replace missing teeth, as adjacent teeth are not required for support. Oral hygiene is not hindered, and the jawbone is prevented from shrinking away.
Dental implants for removable prosthetic teeth: Implants can be used to support removable full upper or lower dentures, by incorporating clips in the dentures which fit on the implants. As few as 2 implants can help to retain a loose denture, or 4-6 implants can give a very securely-fitting denture.
What does the procedure involve?
Before implant treatment commences, your dentist will need to complete preparatory work, which may include X-rays, impressions, photographs and, in more complex cases, CT scans. Your dentist will ensure you have all the information and time you need before deciding whether to proceed with the treatment. Having implants placed involves a minor surgical procedure, where the gum is incised and lifted off the jawbone. A channel is prepared in the jawbone into which the implant is fitted, before the gum is stitched back over or around the implant. It usually takes around 4 months for the jawbone to fuse to the implant, after which the prosthetic tooth/teeth can be fitted. If desired, an interim false tooth can be fitted for the 4-6 month healing period.
How much do implants cost?
However, as every case is different we are only able to provide an accurate estimate once a thorough assessment has been completed. You will receive a written estimate before your treatment starts. Implants are typically more expensive than the alternative treatments (e.g. bridge or denture) but will almost always last significantly longer with a lower risk of complications. Because of this, implants are often less expensive than other treatments over the medium to long-term, and make an excellent investment for your oral health and quality of life.