Below are some of the most frequently asked questions. If you cannot find an answer to your question, try putting it in the search box on the right.
1. Why should I choose The Implant Centre over any other implant clinic?
At The Implant Centre we use very well researched and well respected implant systems. As a team that works exclusively on dental implant treatments, we would be very uncomfortable using lower quality or less well-researched systems. Remember, we expect our implants to last for a very long time, possibly even for life, so there really is no justification for taking a cost-cutting approach to such an important matter. You might like to know that this philosophy recently helped us to win the award for ‘Best Dental Implant Centre in the UK’.
In choosing a clinic, we always recommend patients look carefully at the training of the surgeons and dentists involved, the materials used, and the long-term back-up provided. It is also a good idea to visit the clinics and meet with some of the staff. That way, you will be able to make your mind up very quickly. Our experience is that the decision rarely comes down to price.
2. Are implants expensive?
It is perfectly normal to consider carefully the cost of any serious investment. It is a lot to spend on your mouth and it is down to each individual patient to decide if the improvements to quality of life, function, confidence, and appearance are worthwhile. We only ever prescribe treatment that is necessary. If you are searching for a bargain, please keep in mind that we regularly have to repair many cases from other clinics that have gone wrong due to inadequate planning, skills, or materials.
3. How many implants do you place?
Please do not believe everything you hear about the numbers of implants that some dentists claim to place.
Unlike the team at The Implant Centre, very few dentists keep accurate audit records of their implants and so often their claims are nothing more than guesswork – long experience shows that the guesses are usually greatly exaggerated.
- In 2011 we placed 1,076 implants.
- In 2012 we placed 1,121 implants.
- In 2013 we placed 1,377 implants.
We now believe that The Implant Centre is the largest single centre, in terms of numbers of dental implants placed, in the UK. The surgeons and restorative team at The Implant Centre, therefore, have an exceptional level of experience, something that is extremely reassuring for both our patients and our referring dentists.
“I have been a regular referrer to The Implant Centre and used to say to my patients, ‘when I need an implant, this is where I’m going’… I recently experienced the placement of an implant from the patient’s perspective…now I can say with first-hand experience that The Implant Centre showed expert knowledge and superlative all-round care”.
Mr Andrew J. Whitehouse M.G.D.S, B.D.S, R.C.s (Eng) Dental Surgeon – Windmill Dental Practice. Southwick, West Sussex
4. Is the treatment going to be painful?
This is one of the most common concerns for people thinking about having an implant. When carried out by an experienced clinician, most dental implants are very straightforward to place, taking only about ten to fifteen minutes to complete the surgical part of the treatment. However, more complex cases may take longer.
The majority of implants are placed under a normal dental local anaesthetic. Though the local anaesthetic injections can sting a little, and most of us have experienced dental injections in our mouth at some time, once you are numb, you will not feel anything sharp or painful at all throughout your treatment. You will feel some pressing and pushing during the procedure as well as some vibration during the drilling stage, but this will not be sharp or painful in any way and your dentist will check to make sure you are completely numb before starting the surgery.
For bigger procedures, such as multiple implants or complex cases, sedation can be provided. Sedation is not a general anaesthetic, but makes patients feel very comfortable and relaxed, and they rarely remember much about the procedure afterwards which is an advantage for many nervous patients.
Obviously, the more training and experience the clinician carrying out your dental implant treatment has, the quicker it will be and the more comfortable you are going to be, so make sure you check out your implant surgeon thoroughly before starting treatment.
5. Will I need to have bone grafting?
Firstly, the great news is that innovative techniques, many of which we have developed ourselves here at The Implant Centre, mean that many patients can avoid any kind of bone grafting altogether – even if you have been told you need this by others.
When it is necessary, we use many different materials for bone grafting, which are chosen on a case-by-case basis as the best material for each patient. However, we now use synthetic, laboratory-made materials more and more, replacing the need for cow-derived products almost completely. These synthetic products are rapidly replaced by the body’s own bone, meaning that they disappear completely from the body within a few months.
6. If my tooth is removed will I be left with a gap?
It is possible to have teeth extracted and immediately place implants into the extraction sockets – ‘Instant Implants’. You can even then have temporary teeth added onto these implants – ‘Instant Implants and Instant Teeth’. There are a few factors which can make it necessary to wait for healing after tooth removal, before an implant can be placed – the main factor being whether there is any sign of infection. If infection is present, we need to allow a healing phase of eight to twelve weeks before we can place the implants. Do not worry – you never need have a gap if you do not wish to have one. There are all sorts of temporary solutions to make sure there is no embarrassment at any stage throughout the implant process.
7. What are the treatment timescales?
If the treatment is straightforward, it can be a little as eight to ten weeks from placement of the implant to fit of the final crown. However, sometimes treatment can take longer depending on the level of complexity of your case, with some patients not finishing for up to a year. The exact time frame will be ascertained from your assessment at The Implant Centre.
8. What happens if the implant fails and are there any guarantees?
Any surgical procedure can have complications and dental implants are no exception. When an implant is placed, your bone then needs to grow onto and fuse to the implant, in a process known as ‘osseointegration’, if it is to become a firm foundation for a crown. In the unlikely event that your bone fails to grow onto an implant, we offer the choice of either a full refund, or to replace the implant completely free of charge. We have usually found that patients wish to try again and that a second failure is exceptionally rare.
We are very careful to continuously audit our results and assess our performance, and we always strive to excel. Our audited implant integration rates are over 99% and we will be happy and proud to show you our figures at any time. This is an exceptional figure and it is down to both the skill and experience of our team, and to the quality of the equipment we use.
9. Do I need to have my tooth extracted by my dentist before coming to see you?
You do not need to have the tooth extracted before seeing us. Where possible, we would like to assess the area first, in order to work out the best treatment plan to replace your teeth. This allows us to use the care and attention needed to maintain all possible bone, and simplify your treatment. We can then plan the timetable for treatment much more easily. However, if you are in pain, you can ask your dentist to carefully remove the tooth, and to clean the area carefully with consideration of implant protocols which we have taught to many referring dentists.
10. My teeth have been missing a long time, can I still have implants?
Normally yes – we have worked with many exceptional cases where other implant dentists have said there is not enough bone. We will do a thorough assessment of course, including detailed x-rays and the latest in 3D imaging to assess the bone available.
Very rarely we will explain that there is not enough bone to safely work with implants and then we have to consider alternative dental options with you and your dentist.
11. Can you replace all of my teeth with implants?
Yes we can and we are highly experienced at this pinnacle of dental implant treatments. You do not need one implant per tooth and can actually have as few as four implants to replace all of the upper or lower teeth. There are a variety of options for the type of bridgework supplied, which can either be removable by you or fixed in place, so please see the relevant section of our website.
12. How quickly can I have my implants and new teeth?
We are able to remove the failing teeth, place implants and build up immediate teeth onto the implants all in one session – ‘Instant implants and instant teeth’. This is also called ‘Teeth in a Day,’ which you may have heard about. We will plan in detail before this can be carried out, as our experience is that most implant issues are related to dentists who have not put enough time into the planning, or are not experienced enough at the procedures they are attempting.
See the website section on this fascinating area for more information. Not everyone is able to have this treatment, but we will do so wherever it is safe and will have a high success rate.
13. Can implants help with dentures?
Absolutely. Dentures are most patients’ nightmare due to the difficulty in wearing and the effect on all aspects of life.
Small dentures can be replaced with just a few implants, or complete (full) dentures can either be held in position with implants or replaced with implants altogether – surely the most amazing dental transformation available.