22nd January 2016
Seven questions to ask your dentist before you have dental implants
In past articles, we’ve looked at the benefits of dental implants and answered some of your dental implant FAQs, but this month, we’re talking about five important questions we think you should always ask your dentist when you’re considering dental implants:
- Who will place my implants?
It is important to choose a dentist who has significant training and experience in placing dental implants. You can read the Faculty of General Dental Practice’s Training Standards in Implant Dentistry for more information – this is supported by the General Dental Council.
Here at Roseacre Cottage Dental, all dental implants are placed by our practice partner and in-house Implant Surgeon, Matthew Wall. Matthew has postgraduate qualifications from The Royal College of Surgeons, and the prestigious Eastman Dental Institute.
- What is the treatment procedure?
Having dental implants fitted is a treatment of stages. We may initially need to get you orally fit by getting gum disease under control or carrying out restorative work on your natural teeth – every case is different.
Once we feel that your mouth is in good health, we will place the dental implants themselves in your jaw bone, unless you need a bone graft first to replace missing jawbone and give you a stable foundation for your implants. Dental implants are a titanium post that is placed in your jaw bone. The length and diameter of the implant will depend on the amount of bone available, although most are 4mm in diameter.
Once in place, the area around the dental implants is left to heal and ossify, which is when the bone strengthens around the implant to make it secure (osseointegration). This can take several months.
When your implants are stable, we will make small incisions into your gum at the implant sites to place an abutment on top of the implant. This is the base on which your new prosthetic tooth will sit. Finally, your new tooth/teeth will be attached, restoring your smile.
- How long will my treatment take from start to finish?
Dental implant treatment can take approximately four to nine months, depending on your individual case. Before your treatment begins, your dentist should give you a written treatment plan that breaks down the costs of your treatment and the approximate timeframe of each stage. Make sure you have the plan agreed in writing.
- What is the average healing time for this procedure?
The healing time after dental implants depends on how you heal, the number of implants you’ve had and where they are in your mouth. If you have a single implant, you may be able to get back to your usual activities within a day or two of the implant being placed, whereas it can take seven to 14 days for your gums to heal after multiple implants and you may want to take a few days off work while you recuperate. You should always be given detailed aftercare instructions and an emergency contact in case of any problems.
Once your gums have healed, it usually takes around four to six months for the jaw bone to strengthen around an implant.
- Can I see before and after photos of similar cases?
Where patients have given consent for their images to be shared, we will be happy to show you before and after pictures, as well as testimonials we have on file. If you are looking for dental implants in Kent or Maidstone, in particular, please feel free to ask about our previous cases.
It’s worth asking your dentist how many dental implant cases they have completed, especially over the past 12 months, and what the most common complication is in their opinion.
- Can I wear a temporary restoration while I’m waiting for my implants to be ready for the final prosthetic?
Your dentist may be able to create a temporary restoration for your implant when it is initially placed, but the nature of this temporary restoration will depend on the stability of the implant. It’s important that, when you bite, you don’t place too much force on the implant before osseointegration takes place.
If you are currently wearing dentures to replace your missing teeth, your dentist may be able to modify your dentures so that they can be worn until your final prosthetic teeth can be placed on the implants.
- How should I care for my dental implants?
Once your dental implants and restorations have been fitted, you’ll need to look after them in much the same way as your natural teeth. This means brushing and flossing at least twice a day, and attending regular dental check-ups and appointments with the hygienist.
Without daily care and attention, your plaque can still build up around your implants and cause gum disease, as well as affecting the health and stability of the implant site.
If you would like to find out more about dental implants in Maidstone, Kent, and whether they are the right choice for you, please call us at Roseacre Cottage Dental on 01622 730 548 to book a consultation