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Dental implant colour chart being held against set of teeth.

11th May 2021

The Dental Implant Procedure Explained

Dental implants – permanent false teeth – have been around for years and have an incredibly high success rate. Our patients here at our private dentist in Tunbridge Wells love how they can replace individual, several, or all missing teeth with a realistic, strong and lasting replacement.

In this post, our professional dentists talk through how dental implants are done in a bit more detail and will highlight some pros and cons of the dental implant treatment itself, helping you make a confident and informed decision about your future smile.

It first helps to know what, exactly, dental implants are. Briefly, they’re made of two parts. A long, metal, screw-like part forms the ‘root’ of the new tooth and a ceramic crown, moulded to your smile, is fitted to complete the tooth.

If you’ve decided you want to go ahead with dental implants in Tunbridge Wells, then the first step is a consultation here at our private dental practice. We’ll see if the treatment is suitable for you by checking over your mouth, teeth and gums and ensuring everything’s healthy. This helps us to spot any potential problems in advance and to make sure that the tooth implant treatment will be successful for your smile. After all, we need to be sure there’s a strong and healthy foundation for the new tooth.

If your oral health is in good condition and dental implants are an appropriate treatment option, we’ll book you in for a procedure. This step involves placing the metal root. A tiny incision is made in the gum line, followed by a small hole. Then, the tooth implant is gently screwed into place. A local anaesthetic is used to numb any pain and of course, we’ll be happy to talk you through each step and ensure you’re comfortable at all times.

Next, the tooth implant will need to bond with your jaw bone and your mouth will need to recover and heal. That’s because tooth implants actually involve a minimally-invasive type of oral surgery. The timescale for healing varies between patients, and we can give you a better idea of this during your consultation. However, it’s worth allowing a few months for healing to take place and to enable the tooth implant to anchor strongly.

The final part of the treatment involves placing the ceramic crown, finishing the tooth. If you’ve opted for a single tooth implant, one tooth is replaced. But, our Tunbridge Wells dentists can also replace several missing teeth, for instance, a false tooth (or several) can be suspended between two tooth implants, or you may wish to replace an entire set of teeth, which involves placing several dental implants around the mouth.

The most painful part of a dental implant procedure for many patients is typically the initial placement of the implant post into the jawbone. This step involves drilling into the bone to create a space for the implant, which can cause discomfort and soreness afterward. However, most patients find that the pain is manageable with local anaesthesia and over-the-counter pain medication prescribed by their dentist. Additionally, some individuals may experience mild discomfort during the healing process as the implant fuses with the surrounding bone tissue, but this discomfort is usually temporary and can be alleviated with proper post-operative care. Overall, while there may be some discomfort associated with the dental implant procedure, the long-term benefits of restored oral function and aesthetics often outweigh the temporary discomfort experienced during treatment.

The timeline for getting dental implants from start to finish can vary depending on individual factors such as the patient’s oral health, the number of implants needed, and any necessary preparatory procedures. On average, the process can take several months to complete. Initially, a thorough examination and consultation with a dentist is conducted to assess the patient’s suitability for dental implants. If additional procedures such as bone grafting or tooth extractions are required, they may be performed first to ensure a stable foundation for the implants. After the jawbone has healed sufficiently, the dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone during a procedure that typically takes a few hours. Following implant placement, a healing period of several months is necessary to allow the implants to integrate with the surrounding bone tissue in a process called osseointegration. Once osseointegration is complete, abutments are attached to the implants, and custom-made dental crowns, bridges, or dentures are created to fit securely over the implants. Overall, the entire process of getting dental implants, from initial consultation to final restoration, can take anywhere from several months to over a year, depending on individual circumstances.

The discomfort experienced during a dental implant procedure versus a tooth extraction varies. Dental implant surgery involves placing a titanium implant into the jawbone, often with local anaesthesia to minimise pain. Afterward, patients may experience mild discomfort and swelling, manageable with medication and ice packs. Tooth extraction involves removing a tooth, also with local anaesthesia, and post-procedure discomfort can be managed similarly. Proper care minimises discomfort for both procedures, making them tolerable for most patients.

Dental implants are designed to be a long-term solution for missing teeth, with many lasting a lifetime with proper care. Studies suggest that the success rate of dental implants is around 95% over a ten-year period, and they can last even longer with good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups. Factors such as oral hygiene practices, overall health, and lifestyle habits can influence the longevity of dental implants. In general, with proper maintenance and regular dental visits, dental implants can provide a durable and reliable solution for replacing missing teeth.

If you’d like a dental implant surgery consultation at our dentist in Tunbridge Wells, simply follow the link for more information. Transforming smiles is what we do – and we’d love to enhance yours, too.

Author – The Town House Dental Practice