Barnton Dental Spa - Edinburgh


Dental implants are titanium metal rods that fit into the jawbone to replace missing teeth. They are able to support a variety of tooth replacements, such as dentures and dental bridge. In practice, the term ‘implant’ refers to both the supporting rod and the false teeth.

Are implants a safe method of treatment?

Implants have been used for many years and have been as established a safe and effective treatment. Modern fixtures last for over 15 years in 90 per cent of cases. Whether it’s a single tooth or the whole set of teeth that needs replacing implants can be used as treatment.

Is this always a suitable method for replacing missing teeth?

The suitability of this treatment will be assessed according to the state of your jawbone and other factors. A dentist can arrange several tests to ascertain if this is the most suitable solution. If there is an insufficient amount of bone, or if the bone is not healthy, implants may not be used until bone has been grafted onto the area beforehand.

Does the treatment hurt?

Fitting implants will require a minor operation. The procedure will either be carried out using general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic and sedation. There will be no pain during the operation, but there may be some soreness for a week following the procedure. This is a result of the natural healing process.

Will I have the new teeth immediately?

Implants must fuse with the bone (a process known as osseointegration) once they have been fitted. This process will take at least six months for the upper jaw and three months for the lower jaw. If up to three teeth are being replaced you can have a temporary restoration during this time. In the case of complete dentures, you may wear them for the duration of the healing period after they are adjusted following surgery.

How long will the treatment take?

The time between your initial assessment and the final fitting of the implants to the dentures or false teeth is roughly 12 months. It can be as little as five months, however, if just the lower jaw is being treated. There can be variations depending on how complicated the treatment is, but a dentist should be able to provide you with a timetable.

Are the teeth difficult to clean?

There will be no more difficulty in cleaning around the teeth attached to your implants than there would be cleaning normal teeth. You will be instructed upon techniques to use in order to effectively clean particularly difficult areas.

Could I still get gum disease after implant treatment?

There is still a risk of gum disease if the new teeth are not cared for properly. If the teeth attached to the implants are kept clean, and you don’t smoke, there should not be any issues.

Can the tooth attachments be taken out?

The majority of false teeth used in conjunction with implants can only be removed by a dentist. However, in the case of complete dentures, they are attached with bars and can be removed for cleaning.

Will people notice I have had treatment?

The dentist can make sure that your implants do not show during most movements of your lips and mouth. It is important that you can see them as you will need to make sure that they are being cleaned properly.

Is one implant used for each missing tooth?

If just one tooth is being replaced then only one implant will be required. However, one implant can normally be used to support two teeth, so two or three implants will be used if a few teeth are to be replaced. Five or six implants will be issued if all teeth are missing in either the upper or lower jaw.

What happens if I have an accident?

Your false teeth will be as much at risk of damage from accidents as normal teeth. It can be more difficult, however, to remove any remnants of damaged false teeth than it would be to remove natural teeth. Once the healing period is over new artificial teeth can be placed along with the remaining fragments.

What will happen if bone integration fails?

It is rare for the process of osseointegration to fail. But if the implant does grow loose during the healing process, or soon after, it can be removed and healing will take place as normal. After your jaw has healed you may have another implant fitted. Alternatively, the artificial teeth that failed can be used by the dentist to create a dental bridge instead.

Are implants expensive?

The treatment is expensive but the advantages tend to outweigh the prices. These advantages include:

  • If a single tooth needs to be replaced, there is no need to reduce the size of the teeth on either side of the gap, as would be the case with a bridge.
  • Standard dentures can move about and affect your ability to eat and speak properly. There is no risk of this with implants.
  • This treatment lasts many years and provides a truly stable solution to missing teeth.