Yes, implants are safe for most people and your dentist will be able to tell if treatment is safe for you. People who smoke or are have a medical condition (diabetes, compromised immune systems, osteoporosis, etc.) may be at higher risk of failure as these conditions/habits can affect bone quality and the body’s ability to heal (tissues are slower to heal after treatment).
Most patients are surprised at how little discomfort they feel after having a dental implant. It is possible to have the procedure done under local anaesthetic or you can request additional sedation if you think it will be necessary to calm you down. Once the anesthesia has worn off, discomfort should be minimal. If necessary, your dentist can prescribe pain medication but over-the-counter medication is often sufficient. If the pain is unbearable, lasts for more than a few days or you notice any of these unexpected issues, contact your dentist immediately. For more on this subject, check our guide on how painful implants are.
The average treatment time is 3-6 months (this can vary) which is the time between the initial surgery and the placement of the permanent crown/restoration that the implant is given to fuse with the jawbone.
They can sometimes be placed at the same time teeth are extracted, and in certain cases can be immediately restored with temporary teeth (for aesthetic purposes) while the implant fuses with the jawbone (this is called immediate loading or same day dental implants). More complex implant cases can take longer, particularly if additional procedures such as bone grafts are required.
No, you will be provided with temporary dentures or a temporary bridge to wear during treatment. These temporary teeth are fabricated prior to tooth extraction and implant placement. If you already wear dentures then they may be adapted so you can use them while the implants are healing.
Yes, and they may even feel stronger when they are replacing decayed and damaged teeth that may have been quite fragile or painful during eating or chewing. They can restore your mouth so you can eat normally and enjoy all your favorite foods while benefiting from an aesthetically pleasing smile.
The implant post is made from titanium as it is an inert metal that is extremely strong and won’t react with the body. In addition, titanium integrates very well with the bone, holding the post firmly in position.
Please see this gallery we’ve created of before and after photos.
They are inserted into the jawbone during a short surgical procedure. Your dentist will cut into the gum tissue, exposing the jawbone before carefully drilling a small hole. The implant post is then screwed into the bone, and the gum is replaced over the implant and stitched back in position so the bone and gum can heal. Once healing is complete, an abutment is attached to the implant and this supports the replacement tooth. For more detail, you can read our step-by-step description of a typical implant procedure.
Recovery is typically quite quick, and most people will be able to return to work the day after having a single implant placed. If you have multiple implants placed then you may need to wait a few days before returning to your normal activities, particularly if extra sedation was required.
You should experience few, if any side effects after implant surgery other than the low levels of soreness and swelling that should be expected after any invasive surgical procedure. If a dental implant is placed incorrectly then it is possible to experience numbness or a tingling sensation, or possibly sharp pain. If the symptoms continue for more than a couple of days then you should consult your implant dentist. It is possible it could settle down, but otherwise the implant may need to be removed. This is incredibly rare as risks are minimized through careful planning prior to surgery using x-rays and a CT scan so any nerves and blood vessels are avoided.
You will probably need to stick to a soft food diet for the first few days to a week after surgery, to avoid getting any foods stuck around the stitches. Stick to nutritious foods that are easy to eat, and gradually re-introduce harder foods into your diet as the site heals.
It is important to keep your implants clean, but this is easy to do as they can be brushed and flossed each day. Your dentist will demonstrate how to clean them. It is vital to remember that unless kept clean, the bone and gum tissue around them can become infected with a disease very similar to gum disease, increasing the risk of implant failure. Regular check-ups and professional cleanings will help keep them free from infection.
Implants help preserve the jawbone through replicating natural tooth roots. They are strong and stable and make it easy to enjoy a balanced diet and your favorite foods. They are versatile and can support single or multiple crowns, or even full dentures.
It is also possible to replace full dentures with large bridges supported by implants and which are permanently fixed in position (such as the all-on-4 technique). Teeth replaced with implants will support the cheeks and lips, restoring your natural appearance and self-confidence.
Dental implants should last for many years, and in some cases for a lifetime. There are already many people who have benefited from their implants for decades.
It is important to note that the longevity of implants relies on good professional and home dental care. No professional can guarantee that an implant won’t fail because there are many aspects that can affect the outcome which are out of their control, including the patient’s genetics, diseases, personal hygiene, nutrition/diet and lifestyle.