Ask the expert - the truth about dental implants
PUBLISHED: 11:23 22 April 2014 | UPDATED: 11:23 22 April 2014
They are often described as dentistry's closest replacement to the natural tooth and considered to be the most successful of all complex dental procedures.
Dr Peter Sanders, the award winning dental implantologist from Southampton, answers our questions, explaining how dental implants are fast becoming the most popular solution to tooth loss by offering significantly more benefits than all other methods of tooth replacement.
Can people tell if a patient has had dental implants placed?
Our restorations are developed to look, feel and function exactly as your natural teeth would, allowing you to confidently speak, laugh, smile and eat. At Dental Confidence we make sure every element of the replacement is considered from matching the colour of the restoration to your natural teeth, to focusing on the phonetics so that your speech isn’t in any way compromised by your new replacements.
Do you need to be a certain age to have implants?
Contrary to popular belief there is no age limit to having dental implants, however it is very important that surgery is not performed until the jaw bone has completely stopped growing. This means that implants shouldn’t be placed until the patient has reached an age of around 18 years old. Older age however, is not a limiting factor unless the patient has insufficient bone tissue for implant placement.
Can implants replace dentures?
Implants can replace single teeth, bridges and dentures. With four to six implants, dentures can be secured with great stability providing significant long term improvement. After precise planning the implants are placed in the jaw bone then the full denture or new bridge is fixed in place. This means patients no longer need to hide their smile, be conscious of speaking socially, ignore the food they would love to eat or contain their laughter.
Do implants last a lifetime?
The longevity of dental implants is generally very high. If a patient maintains a good standard of hygiene they will last for a lifetime. Unlike any other dental procedure, implants are a one-time investment that can be a long-term solution.
Is the implant procedure painful?
Dental implant placement is virtually always pain free and nearly all of our patients are pleasantly surprised at how little discomfort is experienced throughout the entire procedure. Dental implants are fixed under local anaesthetic, therefore the most you are likely to feel throughout the procedure would be a slight vibration or feeling of pressure. However, some patients do opt for sedation during a treatment, which is something that can be considered.
Are implants the most expensive solution to tooth loss?
Whilst implants often appear to be an expensive option, it is important that a patient considers the fact that they can be a lifelong solution. The British Dental Health Foundation themselves recently stated that, ‘over the longer term, implants are usually a more cost-effective and satisfactory option.’ The life expectancy of a bridge however, is only around 10 years, so implants are often the better option.
“Before I had the implants placed I was so nervous. I was tense and shaking. But Dr Sanders made me feel at ease and even took the trouble to ask me what my favourite music would be- which was played whilst I was in the chair and I became completely engrossed in and soon relaxed. I can honestly say, I didn’t feel any discomfort at all. I barely even felt the injections!
I’m over the moon with the results. Cosmetically the implants are great and look so natural. Overall, it has been worth every single penny. I was so pleased with the results, I replaced the bridge on the other side.
I would recommend Dental Confidence to anyone considering implants, they are a professional and caring team, they always followed up the treatment with calls to see if everything was ok, which of course, it was.”
Pam Chant, Southampton,
A Dental Confidence Patient
About Dr Sanders:
As the Course Lead for Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) Royal College of Surgeons, Dr Sanders is responsible for the structure, content and delivery of the Implant Diploma programme at the College. His practice Dental Confidence, in Southampton, recently won ‘Best Practice in the South East’ at the national Dentistry Awards, and ‘Best use of Technology’ at the South Coast Business Awards.