What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are metal posts or frames that are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath your gums. Once in place, they allow your dentist to mount replacement teeth onto them.
How do Dental Implants Work?
Because implants fuse to your jawbone, they provide stable support for artificial teeth. Dentures and bridges mounted to implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth — an especially important benefit when eating and speaking. This secure fit helps the dentures and bridges — as well as individual crowns placed over implants — feel more natural than conventional bridges or dentures.
For some people, ordinary bridges and dentures are simply not comfortable or even possible, due to sore spots, poor ridges or gagging. In addition, ordinary bridges must be attached to teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth. An advantage of implants is that no adjacent teeth need to be prepared or ground down to hold your new replacement tooth/teeth in place.
To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also commit to keeping these structures healthy. Meticulous oral hygiene and regular dental visits are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.
Implants are usually more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, and most insurance carriers typically cover less than 10 percent of the fees.
Types of Dental Implants
- Endosteal implants — these are surgically implanted directly into the jawbone. Once the surrounding gum tissue has healed, a second surgery is needed to connect a post to the original implant. Finally, an artificial tooth (or teeth) is attached to the post-individually, or grouped on a bridge or denture.
- Subperiosteal implants — these consist of a metal frame that is fitted onto the jawbone just below the gum tissue. As the gums heal, the frame becomes fixed to the jawbone. Posts, which are attached to the frame, protrude through the gums. As with endosteal implants, artificial teeth are then mounted to the posts.
CARE AFTER IMPLANTS
- Successful oral surgery depends on keeping the mouth as clean as possible.
- You should also start cleaning your other teeth as normal with a toothbrush, starting on the evening of your surgery. Avoid brushing the surgical site for the first few days, but then begin to carefully clean this area with a toothbrush as well, once tenderness permits.
- Hot salt mouthwashes (a cup of hot water with a teaspoon of salt) are very beneficial for healing in the first week. Ensure that the mouthwash is not so hot that it scalds and then hold the hot mouthwash over the surgical site until it cools. Repeat as often as possible.
- Try to keep food away from the surgical area for as long as possible. Rinse following eating to keep the area clean.
- You are advised not to smoke until the wound has healed, as this severely limits healing in the mouth.
What should I avoid after my implant treatment?
- Take care to only have cold drinks and do not eat until the local anaesthetic has worn off. Avoid hot drinks or hot food for the first day and do not ‘swill’ liquid over the area. Try not to disturb the area with your tongue or fingers. Do not undertake strenuous exercise (eg running / gym) for the first 48 hours.
Will there be swelling or bruising around the implant?
- You may have some swelling and/or bruising following your treatment – this usually reaches a peak two to three days later. This is quite normal and both will subside naturally after a few days. Swelling can be reduced with ice packs (or a bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a towel. Hold on the cheek area for a maximum of ten minutes at a time with twenty minutes’ break. After twenty-four hours, gentle heat is more beneficial. Sleeping propped up slightly on two to three pillows may also help.
Will there be pain after the implant procedure ?
- Pain should not be a big problem. Although you may be sore for a few days after any surgery in your mouth, this can be easily managed with simple analgesics (painkillers). You should take these regularly at the maximum stated dose for the first two days after your surgery. Take whatever painkillers you normally take for headaches, aches, and sprains (ibuprofen and paracetamol make a good combination), and take your first dose before the local anaesthetic has completely worn off.
- If after a few days you experience increasing pain and swelling, you must return to The Implant Centre as soon as possible, so that we can ensure you are not beginning to develop an infection.
Can I wear my denture after treatment ?
- If you have a denture that covers the surgical area, please wear it as little as possible for the first week to protect the surgical site during its initial healing period. You should always leave the denture out at night.
What about the stitches around the implant ?
- The stitches are dissolvable but often remain for around two to three weeks. If they are uncomfortable or annoying, you may contact us to remove them.
- Some minor bleeding after surgery in the mouth is perfectly normal. If this persists, apply pressure by biting firmly down over the area on a dampened gauze swab or clean handkerchief for sixty minutes whilst sitting upright. Do not keep checking or changing the gauze. You should contact us if bleeding persists for any reason after applying pressure in this way.
- If you have been given a course of antibiotics to take after your surgery, please ensure that you complete the course.