Dental Implant FAQs
Steve Preddy, head of clinical at Bupa Dental Care, has answered your frequently asked questions about dental implants.
How much do dental implants cost?
The cost of your implant depends entirely on your individual needs. Your dentist will discuss the price for your treatment plan during your consultation. The average price of an implant in the UK (including the implant, abutment and crown) is £2,4151.
Dental implants can be more expensive than other solutions, such as dentures, that replace missing teeth. However, there are many benefits to having implants, as they’re a fixed, discreet and long-lasting solution.
Am I too old/young to have dental implants?
As an adult, you can have a dental implant fitted at any age. Implants aren’t recommended for under 18s as the jaw is still growing and the bone tissue hasn’t fully developed yet.
Are there any reasons why I can’t have a dental implant?
In your initial consultation, you’ll be assessed for your suitability of treatment. Occasionally, dental implants might not be recommended for some patients who have had specific medical conditions or treatments. For example, if you have previously had radiotherapy in your jaw or if you have diabetes which isn’t under control.
If you smoke, you’ll be advised to give up before having an implant fitted. Research shows that the rate of implant failure is much higher for those who smoke than those who don’t2.
Can I replace removable dentures with implants?
Yes. Dentures are a popular solution to replace missing teeth, but people sometimes choose to replace their dentures with implants because they’re fixed into the jaw and eliminate the need for adhesives.
How painful is it to have a dental implant fitted?
Implants are fitted under local anaesthetic which numbs the mouth, so you shouldn’t feel your implant being fitted. After your surgery, you’ll likely have some pain, bruising and swelling which will probably last around a week.
This is normal, and you’ll be able to go to work the day after your procedure. Your pain should ease with over-the-counter painkillers. If you’re concerned that your pain is abnormal, you should always consult your dentist.
How long do dental implants last?
If you look after them properly, implants can last as long as your natural teeth. It’s important to make sure you care for your implant properly to get the maximum lifespan out of it and reduce the risk of infection.
How long does the whole process take?
The time it takes for dental implants varies person by person. The average length of time is between three and nine months, but this might be longer depending on your individual needs, and whether you need any preparation work such as extractions or bone grafts.
Why might I need a bone graft before I have my implant fitted?
Dental implants are inserted directly into the jaw, so your dentist needs to make sure there’s enough bone to support the implant. If you don’t have enough, it’s possible to graft bone from your other body parts, commonly your shin or hip, and insert it into the jaw.
A bone graft may be performed under local anaesthetic, or in hospital under general anaesthetic depending on where the bone comes from. This may add some time to having your implant fitted, but is necessary for the implant to be a success if you don’t have enough bone. Although this may sound intimidating, it’s a common surgery and is nothing to be worried about.
What is the difference between a dental implant and a bridge?
Dental implants are screwed in to replace a missing tooth, whereas bridges use the surrounding teeth to fill the missing gap. Bridges which support two or more teeth may require cutting of natural teeth. In some techniques such as teeth in a day, bridges are used to support multiple implants.
Are dental implants available on the NHS?
Implants are usually only available through private dental care. In very rare circumstances, implants may be available on the NHS to replace missing teeth due to mouth cancer or severe accidents. This is only in extreme cases and you should always check with your dentist if you feel you might be eligible for this.
2-Kasat, V., & Ladda, R. (2012). Smoking and dental implants. Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, 2(2), 38-41