Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. 

When must you get dental implants done?
Dental implants are recommended when you have any of the following

  • loose or poor fitting dentures as a result of flat ridges
  • multiple missing teeth that require support for crowns and bridges
  • missing teeth

Can anyone undergo a dental implant procedure?
Only those candidates who fulfil the following conditions can undergo a dental implant procedure

  • Good general and oral health
  • Missing teeth – one or all of the teeth
  • Enough bone in the area of the missing tooth to facilitate the anchorage of the implants. A bone graft would be necessary in case of a shortage of bone in the area.
  • Healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease

What are the different types of dental implants available at Leeds?
Your Leeds dentist will advise you on the various types of dental implants available and choose the best option for you.  These include

  • ENDOSTEAL IMPLANTS – These are implants which can be placed in the jaw bone.  These implants are opted when the jawbone has capability of receiving the implants either due to its sufficient depth/width or through bone grafting.  Based on the above criteria, endosteal implants used by the Leeds dentist can either be
    • Root form implants – used when the jaw bone has sufficient bone width or when width can be increased through bone grafting
    • Plate form implants – used when the jaw bone is narrow and when the area is not suitable for bone grafting either
  • SUBPERIOSTEAL IMPLANTS – These are implants which are placed on the jawbone.  These implants are opted when the jaw bone lacks sufficient depth or width to receive endosteal implants

How does the Leeds dentist choose the right implant for you?

  • During the initial consultation, the Leeds dentist will discuss your expectations from the procedure
  • The Leeds dental team will then gather your complete dental and medical history, followed by a thorough oral examination,  medical consultation and blood tests
  • The Leeds dentist will perform a thorough dental examination to assess the structure and health of the mouth, gums, teeth, jaws, head and neck
  • Several types of X-rays will be taken to support in the examination and to create models of the bite, upper and lower jaws. These include
  • Panographic x-rays – To obtain a view of the entire mouth, location of sinuses, nerves and sign of any bone problems
  • Cephalometric x-rays – To obtain side images of the height of the jaw and to check for consistency of the bite
  • Computerized tomography x-rays (CT scan) – To obtain cross- sectional and other views to help measure the exact jaw height, width and bone density
  • Based on the findings, the Leeds dentist will advise you on options of treatment, associated risks, anaesthesia, limitations and cost

How will your Leeds dentist prepare you for the dental implant procedure?

  • Photographs are taken to compare with the end result of the procedure.
  • The Leeds dentist will give you an antimicrobial mouth rinse, anti-inflammatory medication or antibiotics before the surgery.
  • You are requested to inform  the Leeds dentist of any particular medical condition you may be facing such as high blood pressure or history of allergies with epinephrine in local anaesthetics
  • The Leeds dentist will ask you not to eat or drink for at least 6 hours prior to the surgery.

What happens during the dental implant procedure?
The dental implant procedure will vary according to the type of dental implant chosen by the Leeds dentist.

In case of Endosteal Implants
The procedure is carried out in three stages with sufficient time gaps between each.
Stage 1- Placing of implants

  • The Leeds dentist will administer local anaesthesia with a mild sedative or general anaesthesia
  • The Leeds dentist will then make incisions on the gum in order to expose the area of the jawbone beneath
  • Holes are drilled into the bone sufficient enough to receive the implants
  • The Leeds dentist will then place the implant in the holes and suture the gums

The procedure may take two to three hours to complete

Stage 2 – Attaching abutments to the implants
After a period of 4-6 months, and when the patient has healed sufficiently from the first surgery, the second surgery is scheduled

  • The Leeds dentist will administer local anaesthesia with a mild sedative
  • The Leeds dentist will then make incisions on the gum in order to expose the implant fixtures
  • The Leeds dentist will check to see whether sufficient bone has grown in and around the implant , thereby creating a strong structural support
  • If satisfied with the outcome, the Leeds dentist will attach the abutments to the implant fixtures

The procedure takes less than an hour to complete

Stage 3- Attaching artificial teeth to the abutments
Once the patient has properly healed from the second surgery, the third and final surgery is carried out

  • The Leeds dentist will make impressions of the mouth, and bite registrations.
  • The impressions are used by the Leeds dentist to make artificial teeth to be attached to the abutments.  The artificial teeth maybe removable, fixed or a combination of both.
  • The artificial teeth are finally attached to the abutments, ending the procedure.

In case of Subperiosteal Implants
Subperiosteal implants can be placed either through a single surgery method or through surgery carried out at two different stages.
Dual surgery method
Stage 1- Taking impressions of the jawbone to create a custom made implant

  • The Leeds dentist will administer local anaesthesia with a mild sedative or general anaesthesia
  • The Leeds dentist will then make incisions on the gum in order to expose the area of the jawbone beneath
  • The Leeds dentist will take impressions of the jawbone and close the incisions
  • The impressions taken are used to create a custom made implant in the dental lab that will sit perfectly on the top of the bone but below the gums.

Stage 2 – Placing the custom made implant on the jaw

  • The Leeds dentist will administer local anaesthesia with a mild sedative or general anaesthesia
  • The Leeds dentist will then make incisions on the gum in order to expose the area of the jawbone beneath
  • The custom made implant, which is ready by now, is placed on the jaw and the incisions are closed
  • The Leeds dentist will then install replacement teeth in place

Single surgery method

  • The Leeds dentist will take a special CAT scan of the  jawbone in order to create a model of the jawbone
  • Using the model, the custom subperiosteal implant aptly fitting the jaw, is fabricated in the dental laboratory
  • The Leeds dentist will administer local anaesthesia with a mild sedative or general anaesthesia
  • The Leeds dentist will then make incisions on the gum in order to expose the area of the jawbone beneath
  • The custom made implant is placed on the jaw by the Leeds dentist and the incisions are closed
  • The Leeds dentist will then install replacement teeth in place

What to expect immediately after the Dental Implant procedure (surgery stages)?

  • You can expect some minor bleeding on the day of surgery.
  • The Leeds dentist will ask you to bite on some gauze to stop any bleeding
  • You may experience some swelling in the area of the implant surgery for up to 72 hours following the procedure
  • You may be asked to use an ice pack to help reduce swelling.
  • You may notice some discoloration of the skin and gums for a few days.

Living with your dental implants

  • Medications – The Leeds dentist will prescribe
    • pain medications to alleviate any discomfort following the procedure, for a brief period
    • antibiotics to prevent infection and aid in healing
  • Sutures – If the Leeds dentist has used non–dissolving sutures for your surgery, you will have to return to the surgeon to have them removed as per the follow up schedule
  • Return to normal life – You can return to your normal activities within a day or two
  • Strict regime for oral hygiene

The Leeds dentist will give you important instructions on practicing oral hygiene, which need to be followed meticulously for best results and maintenance.  The abutment posts, the area below the prosthesis, artificial teeth and gum tissue must all be kept clean.
Cleaning Aids -Special brushes and floss holders to clean the teeth and abutments such as

  • A small soft tooth brush or special interdental brush to clean the abutments.   
  • A brush with a bent handle to reach behind the teeth to clean the abutments  
  • Gauze or special floss with a foam coating to clean around gums, abutments and prosthetic teeth

Brushing and flossing routine and tips – Brush after every meal using special cleaning aids mentioned above.  Based on the type of prosthesis used, the cleaning methods will vary

  • For Removable prosthesis – Remove the prosthesis and brush the inside and outside, then brush around the gums and abutments, and finally floss the abutments.   
  • For Fixed prosthesis – Brush the fixed prosthetic teeth thoroughly, ensuring that the brush reaches behind the teeth to facilitate brushing the back of the abutments. Abutments must be flossed from front, sides and behind.   
  • Lifestyle changes
    • Follow a soft diet for a brief period so that undue stress is not placed on the new implants
    • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption as well as chewing hard foods such as ice or hard candy as they can damage the implants or cause them to fail.
    • If you use dentures, it is best to stop their use, especially in certain cases, for a short period of time.  Alternatively, your Leeds dentist may place a soft lining in the dentures to permit its  comfortable usage during the healing period
  • Routine check-ups 
    • Assess your prosthesis by keeping routine checkups with your Leeds dentist at least twice a year, and
      • check how well the prosthesis fits in the mouth
      • check if the prosthesis requires any repairs
      • check the stability of the anchors 
      • check the health of the gums and jaw
      • Have the abutments cleaned
  • Emergency visits to the dentist – Make an emergency appointment with your Leeds dentist if there is any excessive bleeding following the procedure