1What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a titanium metal rod which is placed into the jawbone. It is used to support one or more false teeth. In practice, both the false teeth and their supporting rod are known as 'implants'.
2Are implants safe?
Implants are a well-established, tried-and-tested treatment. 90 per cent of modern implants last for at least 15 years.
3I have some of my own teeth. Can I still have implants?
Yes. You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants - from one single tooth to a complete set.
4Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?
It depends on the state of the bone in your jaw. Your dentist will arrange for a number of special tests to assess the amount of bone still there. If there is not enough, or if it isn't healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first.
5Do implants hurt?
Placing the implants requires a small operation. This is carried out under very effective local anaesthetic. You will not feel any pain at the time, but you may feel some discomfort during the week following the surgery. This is usually due to having stitches in place, and the normal healing process.
6Can I have the new teeth straight away?
No. The implants need to bond (integrate) with the bone after they have been placed. This takes at least 3-4 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper jaw. If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you will have a temporary restoration in the meantime. If you have complete dentures, then you can wear them throughout the healing period once they have been adjusted after the surgery.
7What implants do you use and how long does the treatment take?
We use Osstem or Biomet 3i implants. In April 2007 we introduced the Biomet 3i system.
We offer also high quality Ankylos (Dentsply - Friadent), Osseolink and DIO implants.
8How long does the treatment with implants take?
First visit - approximately 7 days (weekend included). After the first visit we need to wait at least two months, this is the healing period. The patient receives a temporary denture or uses his own denture during this time. After approximately 3-6 months it is possible to come for the second visit which takes 7 - 10 days (weekends included). During this visit crowns are put on the implants and the work is finished.
9How much can I save?
For example let's take the case of a patient from the UK who needs to have 6 Nobel Biocare implants placed. (Nobel Biocare implants are one of the best implants in the world, we possess the authorization of this company). In the UK he has to pay 12 000 £ for 6 implants (2 000 £ for each implant). In our clinic he pays only 3750 £ for 6 exactly the same implants (approx. 625 £ for each implant). The dentist in the UK charges 8250 £ more than our experienced surgeon. The placing of the 6 implants takes approx. two hours.
10Why are there so huge price differences in Europe? If it is cheaper in Germany than in the UK does it mean that the British use better materials?
No, the prices in countries depend in principle on two factors. The first factor is the wealth of the given country. Because the citizens of the UK, Ireland and Switzerland are one of the richest citizens of the European Union the dental services are there very expensive. The second factor is the amount of dentists in a country. It is commonly known that there are few dentists in the UK, for example much fewer than in Germany, thats why the patients have to wait very long for a visit and the dentists are very busy and increase the prices.
Let's analyse another example, this time from Germany. Some time ago a very nice patient from Germany came to our clinic. She requested the most expensive crowns in the world - the Swedish PROCERA crowns. One such crown costs in Munich approx. 2000 - 2500 €. The same crown costs in our clinic 500 €. For ten crowns she would have to pay 20 000 € in Munich but she paid only 5000 € in our clinic. What is interesting, is the fact that these crowns are neither made in Germany nor in Poland. The dentist prepares the teeth for the crowns, after this the scan of the situation is sent electronically to a laboratory in Sweden and after a few days crowns are delivered from Sweden. The preparation for these crowns isn't easy and take approx. 20 working hours. It is easy to count that for these 20 hours of work the dentist in Munich takes 15 000 € more than we and when we take 5 000 €, we also make a profit on it. This example shows clearly that the prices of dental services when using the same materials can differ on several hundreds per cent in countries that are only several hundreds kilometers away from each other.
11Are the teeth difficult to clean?
Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. However, there may be areas that give you problems and you'll be shown methods to help.
12 If I had gum disease when I had my own teeth, will I get it with the teeth attached to the implants?
Yes, if you don't care for them well enough. If you keep them clean, and don't smoke, then you should not have any problems.
13Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?
Most artificial teeth attached to implants can only be placed and removed by the dentist. However, if you have complete dentures fixed to the implants by bars, then you'll be able to take them out for cleaning.
14Do the implants show?
Your dentist will make sure that the implants won't show during all normal movements of the mouth and lips. You will need to be able to see them, so that you can clean them properly.
15Do I have an implant for each missing tooth?
No, unless you're only having a single tooth replaced. Normally, five or six implants are used to replace all the teeth in one jaw, as each implant can usually support two teeth. For a few missing teeth, two or three implants may be used.
16What if I get hit in the face?
Implants and the teeth they support can be damaged by an accident in the same way that natural teeth can. However, if the false teeth are damaged and the remnants are left in the bone then they may be more difficult to remove than natural teeth would be. After healing, new false teeth can then be placed alongside the fragments.
17What happens if the implant does not bond (integrate) with the bone?
This happens very rarely. If the implant becomes loose during the healing period or just after, then it is easily removed and healing takes place in the normal way. Once the jaw has healed, another implant can be placed there. Or, the dentist can make a bridge, using the implanted false teeth that have 'taken'.