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Your Questions Answered

1. What are dental implants?

Dental implants are a natural looking, long-term solution for replacing missing teeth. The implant itself is a metal (usually titanium) screw which is placed directly into your jawbone as a substitute for your missing tooth root. The surface of the implant is specially treated to stimulate bone growth, so that your bone gradually fuses to the implant, holding it firmly in place. Once secured in your upper or lower jaw, the implant can be used to securely support a crown, a bridge or denture depending on your needs. The current technique was developed more than 50 years ago and is a highly successful procedure.

2. What benefits do they offer?

Implants can offer significant health and lifestyle benefits, improving patient self-esteem, comfort and long-term oral health. Implants can last a lifetime compared to 5-10 years for fixed bridges, and they don’t require adjacent healthy teeth to be ground down. They are fixed in place, unlike denture plates which can be embarrassing to remove and clean. They alleviate many of the problems commonly associated with ill-fitting dentures, such as sore gums, slipping and clicking, which can cause problems with eating and talking. And unlike bridges and dentures, they prevent bone loss, helping you to maintain a more youthful appearance. Read more about implant benefits.

3. What is the difference between a dental implant and a tooth supported bridge?

Implants are permanently placed into your jawbone to hold your false tooth or dentures securely in place. Bridges literally ‘bridge’ the gap created by one or more missing teeth, using your adjacent teeth to anchor your false tooth or teeth. Unlike implants, bridges don’t require surgery, however they may require healthy adjacent teeth to be filed down to support the bridge. Devon Dental Implant Centre will discuss both treatments fully with you and help you decide on the best option for you.

4. Can anyone have an implant?

Dental implants are suitable for most people over the age of 21 who are in good general health and have enough bone to receive the implant. They are not suitable for children and teenagers whose bones are still growing. If you have gum (periodontal) disease it must be treated before the implants are placed. If you don’t have enough bone in your jaw to anchor the implants, it can usually be rebuilt using a procedure called bone augmentation. Some medical conditions may preclude implants. Devon Dental Implant Centre will carry out a thorough assessment to ensure your suitability for treatment.

5. What qualifications should I look for in an implant dentist?

Implant dentistry is a specialised dental skill, so it may surprise you to learn that many dentists who offer implants have not undergone formal training and do not have formal qualifications. Mistakes can result in permanent damage, so it is vital to do your research. Questions to ask include: ‘What are your qualifications?’ (Look for a dentist with a Diploma or MSc in Implant Dentistry); ‘How many implants have you placed?’; ‘How long have you being doing the procedure?’; and ‘What is your success rate?’ More complex cases may require advanced procedures such as bone grafting and sinus surgery so find out if the dentist has the skills to handle these treatments. You can check out our qualifications here.

6. Are implants safe?

Implants have been used for decades and are one of the most predictable and reliable replacements for missing teeth. As with all minor surgery, the procedure is not without risk, but complications are rare and can generally be managed effectively. For peace of mind make sure your dentist is a qualified and experienced implantologist.

7. Is it painful to have implants?

The procedure itself shouldn’t hurt, although you may experience some swelling or discomfort afterwards. During surgery you will be given a local anaesthetic or, should you require it, sedation. Rhys Gabe, our clinical lead in sedation at Devon Dental Implant Centre, has a special interest in treating anxious patients and has a well-earned reputation for putting our patients at ease.

8. How long do implants last?

At Devon Dental Implant Centre we use the Straumann dental implant system which is renowned for its exceptional quality and reliability. Such high-quality implants can last a lifetime if they are correctly placed and you maintain a good oral health regime. Stopping smoking will considerably increase the success and longevity of your implant treatment as smoking can affect the healing process and may be bad for the long-term health of gum and bone surrounding the implant. The other critical factor is the health of your gums. Implants can suffer with gum disease, the same as teeth and it is vitally important that this is assessed properly before treatment.

9. How should I look after my implants?

Although your new teeth won’t decay, it is important to look after them and the surrounding gums as you would your natural teeth. Poor oral hygiene leading to gum disease (peri-implantitis) is the most common cause of implant failure. Our hygienists at Devon Dental Implant Centre can advise you on a good oral health regime and recommend you make six-monthly visits for hygiene treatment.

10. Should I travel abroad to get dental implants? What are the risks?

Every year many Brits consider travelling abroad for implant treatment, attracted by the lower costs; however, this can be a false economy. British dentists are regulated by the General Dental Council (GDC) and are required to have the appropriate indemnity insurance. If your treatment goes wrong outside the UK, you will have little legal recourse to recover the money and may have to return to the clinic incurring additional treatment and travel expenses. Successful implants also require good communication and after-care and both may be lacking from an overseas dentist. For more information read this General Dental Council Guide on Going Abroad for your Dental Care, or speak to a member of our team at Devon Dental Implant Centre.

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Mr Mills was kind, pleasant and reassuring, and explained everything to me, so that I knew what was going on every inch of the way. I can’t recommend him and his implant team highly enough.
Super helpful, friendly, clean, efficient and brilliant at informing us of procedures & treatment. We never feel rushed or have to wait too long. They have made the dentist experience a positive one for our children – who are always excited to go!
I would rate this dentist 1000 stars if I could! Everyone there is so friendly and smiley! I had my teeth done by John Cato and Paula and what can I say. Both of them made me feel so relaxed even though I normally hate the dentist they have made this all change! I couldn’t thank them both enough.
Ms P
It’s nearly two months since my treatment for an implanted bridge concluded and I could not be more pleased. The treatment was excellent, the care by Ian Mills and his team was superb and the teeth look fantastic.
Rhys Gabe is an incredible guy. After 30 odd years of avoiding the dentist through fear I actually now enjoy going thanks to this man. I cannot recommend him highly enough to nervous and anxious patients.