For people looking to replace one or more missing teeth, dental implants offer a reliable solution to help restore smile-confidence. In this expert guide, leading implant and restorative dental surgeon Dr Amit Mohindra answers frequently asked questions about dental implants and reveals why careful maintenance is key to longevity of this type of prosthesis.
What are the benefits and advantages of dental implants?
One benefit of a dental implant is that it is the closest replacement to a natural fixed tooth. Another advantage is that the adjacent teeth don’t need to be used to support a dental implant. Therefore, should there be a problem with the teeth in the future, you can deal with them individually. This keeps the cost down long term.
Implants also allow you to smile and eat with confidence, meaning you can socialise knowing that your teeth are securely in place as opposed to a denture.
Why would someone have dental implants?
Anyone with missing teeth may consider dental implants. This could be due to congenital lesions, meaning the patient was born with fewer teeth or trauma to the area causing some teeth to be lost. Patients also sometimes lose teeth due to dental disease like decay and gum disease.
How long do dental implants last?
When placed well, with good maintenance (as instructed) on the part of the patient and regular checks with a dentist, implants can last a long time. Typically, clinical literature will show implants have a survival rate of ninety-seven per cent for over fifteen years.
Are dental implants painful?
During the procedure, you will be given local anaesthetic and sedation for those who are little bit more anxious. Once the area is numb, the surgical procedure is very comfortable and as guided surgery is used, the healing period is far quicker and less painful than it used to be.
Following the procedure, the healing time is normally three to seven days depending on the number of implants and whether any bone grafts were required. Once the healing has taken place, implants are then pain-free in the long term.
Can dental implants decay?
A dental implant cannot decay which is a big advantage for people who have a high risk of caries or decay. They can, however, get gum disease and that is why maintenance of the implants after they have been placed is so important. To ensure they can be well cared for, ensuring they are placed under correct precision in the first place is essential.
How should patients care for their dental implants?
As long as the implants have been placed correctly and patients have been given the correct information about how to care for them, they can be easy to maintain. This involves a combination of using small interspace brushes and other devices to clean in between and around the implant.
You should be shown how to do this once the implant is in place and I would also recommend that you continue to visit a hygienist every three months and a dentist every six months. This is important as it ensures that the gum health around the implant is the best it can be, meaning the implant will last a long time.
If you are considering dental implants and wish to discuss your options further, you can schedule a consultation with Dr Mohindra by visiting his Top Doctors profile.