If you have dentures you can now kiss them goodbye and replace them with permanent teeth.

If you’ve lost a tooth due to tooth decay, an accident, injury or periodontal disease, dental implants will have you smiling again.

Implants form the foundation basis for replacement teeth. They are usually made out of titanium and replace the root of a tooth so that the replacement tooth can be secured.

Who can get dental implants?
Most people are suitable candidates for implants. If you are healthy enough to undergo oral surgery, you should be good to go. Dentists would usually do a thorough examination to check that everything is fine and discuss the process with you before the insertion. Two major factors to consider are the state of your gums and the amount of bone in your jawbones. Your gums should be healthy to avoid infections or disease.

Because implants are inserted into the jawbone, the quantity and quality of bone in your gums will determine whether the implants will be secure enough when they are inserted. Your dentist will test the amount and density of the bone beforehand. If there is not enough bone left, further recommendations will be made by your dentist.

How many teeth can be replaced with implants?
The answer is easy: it depends on how many you want replaced. You can choose whether you want only one tooth replaced or an entire set. It depends on your preference and needs, so it’s totally up to you. Whether all your teeth can be replaced with dental implants at once, is something you should discuss with your dentist. The process might be complicated and take longer, but it will still be worthwhile.

How long do implants last?
Implants can last just as long as normal teeth, if they are looked after. It all depends on how well you look after your implants and if you regularly visit your dentist for routine check-ups. That’s why it’s so important to look after your teeth and gums.

What do implants look like?
Implants look like normal teeth - that’s one of the many reasons why they are so popular. In fact, they don’t only look like normal teeth, they can be used like normal teeth as well. Be sure to look after your implants like you would look after your normal teeth.

How do I clean my implants?
You can clean your dental implants just like you would clean your teeth. Your mouth hygiene routine should always include brushing your teeth, flossing and rinsing with a mouth rinse. Regular trips to your dentist or oral hygienist is also recommended. Unfortunately, most people only visit their dentists when they’re in pain, have/experience discomfort or they think they might have a gum disease. Money, pain and time can be saved by regular visits to your dentist.

How long does it take to fit an implant?
While each case and patient are unique, your dentist will be able to give you a timeline so that you can plan ahead. It is possible to fit the replacement tooth a few months after the dental implant has been inserted. Some people want their dental implants fitted as soon as possible, while others feel they can wait a while since they’re coping without it. It really is up to you.

Does it hurt to get an implant?
While you could experience some pain or slight discomfort after your dental implant has been fitted, you should not feel any pain during the procedure. That’s because your dentist will numb your gums with local anaesthetic so that you won’t feel a thing. You can always ask your dentist for pain medication to relief you of the discomfort after the procedure. If you feel any crucial pain or suspect that there might be an infection, contact your dentist immediately.

Why wait when you can have your teeth – and self-confidence – improved by having a dental implant inserted? There are so many reasons to smile and with implants, your smile can be bigger and better than ever before.

Niel Burg