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Common Dental Problems and FAQs - Dental Implants


What are dental implants?
Dental implants are metal posts which may be inserted into the jawbone and used to support a crown or bridge or denture to replace missing teeth.

How are implants placed?
Implant treatment requires precise planning to ensure that the implant is in the correct position and the crown, bridge or denture is of the correct design to produce a stable replacement for the missing teeth. Xrays and measurements must be taken to ensure that there is sufficient strong bone to support the implant. The procedure involves drilling a hole into the jawbone into which the implant is placed. As the jawbone heals it fuses with the implant. Some months later the implant is exposed and an attachment is placed onto the implant which carries the crown or bridge or denture. The crown or bridge is usually permanently attached to the implant by screwing or cementing onto the attachment whilst a denture is clipped onto the implants and can be removed for cleaning.

How long should implant treatment last?
An implant should last a lifetime if it becomes fused to the surrounding bone. The crown, bridge or denture, which the implant carries will require replacement in the usual way after 10 or more years.

Can implants fail?
As with any area of dentistry implant treatment can be unsuccessful. Sometimes the implant loosens because it has not fused with the bone. This may be because of an infection surrounding the implant or because there was insufficient good quality bone to secure the implant.

A major risk factor in implant failure is smoking, and every effort should be made to stop smoking before implants are provided.

The crown, bridge or denture must be carefully designed to minimize the stresses placed on the implants and if poorly designed will cause the implants to become overloaded.

Implants may be placed in an incorrect position and become overloaded which may also lead to failure.

The site at which the implant protrudes through the gum into the mouth is susceptible to infection and must be kept thoroughly clean to prevent this. The crown, bridge or denture may loosen if not properly connected to the supporting implants.

Implants ought to be successful if properly planned and executed and are an effective and aesthetic method of replacing missing teeth, without involving or damaging the adjacent teeth in order to support a bridge or denture.

Our service is only available in respect of treatment provided in England and Wales. The documents contained in this web site are presented for information purposes only, and neither the material, nor the responses to questions are intended to replace professional dental care or attention by a qualified practitioner. The materials in this web site cannot, and should not, be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of dental treatment. Askthedentist strongly advises all users with dental problems to consult a dentist.