Dental Implants FAQs

We’ve put together some of the most common dental implant FAQs to help you make an informed decision.

What are dental implants?

Also known as tooth implants, dental implants are a prosthetic replacement for a missing tooth. Dental implants are made of a titanium alloy and are surgically inserted into the jawbone to support the replacement tooth or teeth.

Am I a suitable candidate for dental implants?

Most adults can have dental implants providing their jaw has finished growing, and they are in good health to undergo a surgical procedure. Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or tooth decay may be a candidate for dental implants. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant, however. If you have been missing your teeth for many years and the bone has resorbed, you may require bone grafting or augmentation before the dental implant procedure. The best candidates have healthy gum tissue free of periodontal disease. There are some medical conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis, or lifestyle choices such as smoking, that may need to be addressed before implant treatment.

Do all dentists provide implant dentistry?

Not all dentists are trained in implant dentistry. It is important to understand that there is significant variation in not only the cost but the quality of your dental implant treatment. The factors that influence the quality and outcome of your dental implant treatment include the:

  • formal qualifications, experience and expertise of the dental surgeon
  • type of dental implant used; not all implants are the same
  • equipment and facilities used to perform the procedure
  • skill of the dental technician when fabricating the dental implant prosthesis
  • dental laboratory and materials used to fabricate the dental implant prosthesis

When choosing where to have your dental implant treatment, please consider every detail carefully. There should be very little or no compromise in terms of the quality of the materials used.

Are dental implants expensive?

The initial cost of having a dental implant procedure is greater than that of a denture or a tooth-supported fixed bridge. If maintained adequately, however, implants can last a lifetime, making the long-term cost affordable.

When considering costs, it is also important to consider the ‘biological cost’ of dental treatment; that is, the biological impact it has on the tooth and the likelihood of needing future treatment. The biological cost of having a denture or a tooth-supported bridge is far greater than that of an implant, and when this is taken into consideration, the dental implant is much more cost-effective.

Is dental implant surgery painful?

As with any other routine dental treatment, we place dental implants under local anaesthetic. If required, we also provide additional sedation options to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. As with any surgery, you may be given analgesics and medications to ensure your comfort during the healing phase.

How long will dental implants last?

Once a dental implant has successfully fused to the bone and is functional, it should last many years, if cared for properly. Many implants have now been in place for more than 40 years.

How do I take care of my dental implants?

Dental implants need to be adequately cleaned and maintained just like your natural teeth. Although they are not subject to dental cavities, if not properly cared for, they can develop gum inflammation and even infection and bone loss. Brushing and flossing around your dental implants is extremely important. In addition to daily home care, it is important to maintain regular visits to your dentist who will be able to review and ensure the surrounding gums and bone remain healthy.

What are the complications that can occur with dental implants?

Dental implants are safe and effective and have a very high success rate. However, as with all dental treatments, there are risks involved when placing dental implants. These may include:

  • Infection at the implant site
  • Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels
  • Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin
  • Sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities

There are also several risk factors that may increase the risk of implant failure such as smoking and periodontal disease. It is important to discuss any general medical conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis with your dental surgeon before commencing dental implant treatment.

Optimal home care and professional maintenance will also reduce the risk of any future complications or infection so your dental implants can last you a lifetime!

What happens if I don’t replace my missing teeth?

When you’ve been living without your natural teeth for some time, there have been no tooth roots to stimulate the bone. This results in your jawbone weakening and shrinking, and can affect the shape of your face, causing you to look prematurely aged. Placing dental implants can significantly reduce this process, helping to maintain the natural bone structure and support your facial features.

Why are dental implants better than dentures?

Dentures are often ill-fitting and uncomfortable to wear, making it difficult to speak clearly and eat a wide variety of foods. Many conventional denture wearers have a restricted nutritional intake – even when eating alone – as they find it difficult to chew their food. This restricted nutritional intake can have a detrimental effect on their health and emotional well-being. With dental implants, your new replacement teeth are far more stable, allowing you to function as if you would with normal teeth.

Additionally, as dentures sit on top of the gums and are not anchored to the jawbone, they don’t stimulate the bone, resulting in increased bone loss. Conversely, dental implants keep the bone stimulated, healthy and strong. Read more about the benefits of implants here.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Contact us to learn more or book a complementary dental implant consultation