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Dental implants

Dental implants are the best teeth-replacement option because they ensure the natural jaw and mouth functioning and help maintain jawbone integrity. Different types of dental implants are available. A dental implant can cost about £2000, while full-mouth implants cost £25000 or more.

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What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a screw-like dental device that replaces a missing tooth's root. This artificial tooth root is surgically inserted into the jawbone and holds a prosthetic tooth, several teeth or a prosthesis.

A dental implant functions like the natural tooth root, but you can consider them screw-in teeth. However, many people refer to an implant as an entire tooth replacement. The tooth part is the crown, while the part inserted in the bone is the implant, and the abutments connect both parts.

Dental implants are suitable for people with more than one missing tooth for different reasons, such as an accident, dental abscess or medical and dental conditions. Other people get dental implants for cosmetic reasons. About 47% of people in the UK have about 1 – 5 fillings or implants. This gives artificial teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth.

Who can get dental implants?

Some people aren't suitable candidates for dental implants. Before you get a dental implant, you must have sufficient jawbone to support the new implant and healthy gums. People with oral health problems such as gum disease or who have experienced bone loss may be unsuitable for dental implant surgery.

However, many people can undergo dental bone graft surgery to strengthen the jawbone before inserting dental implants.

Mini dental implants are an alternative for people who cannot get traditional implants. These implants have a structure similar to traditional implants but have a thinner root about a toothpick's width. This requires less bone to hold them in place.

If your dentist informs you that you can't get dental implants because you have lost your jawbone or the bone density is low, you may get a dental implant. Mini implants have the added benefit of requiring only one dental visit, meaning you don't need to wait 3 – 6 months for your implants to settle.

Mini dental implants are usually less expensive than traditional implants, but they have a few downsides.

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Types of dental implants and tooth reconstruction

Two main types of the dental implant itself are available

  • Endosteal implant

For an endosteal implant, the dentist inserts it directly into the jawbone to hold one or more artificial teeth in place through the abutment. This implant looks like a small screw, either cylindrical or tapered

  • Subperiosteal implant

This dental implant has a metal base which the dentist fits under the gum tissue but on or above the jawbone. Fitting the artificial teeth is the same because support comes from the gums. This implant type isn't common and is usually custom-made for patients with shallow jawbones that can't support conventional endosteal implants.

Dental implant materials

Different materials are available for making the part of an implant inserted into the jawbone that replaces the lost tooth root.

Titanium is the most common material for dental implants, and dental surgeons consider it the best. Titanium is strong and biocompatible with the jawbone, meaning an adverse reaction is unlikely, and the bone will naturally grow around it.

The implants aren't 100% titanium because they are too soft and made with different alloys.

Polymers and ceramics are available for those uncomfortable inserting metal into their body. The most common alternative to titanium implants is zirconia implants. While this material contains metal traces, it is under a ceramic.

Titanium has been the most common dental implant material than zirconia. Several studies have shown that titanium implants are long-lasting, effective and safe, so most dentists recommend titanium.

Titanium implants are also versatile. They are available in two parts – the abutment and implant. Since fitting the abutment is at a separate appointment, you can adjust the position of the crown placed on it.

Most zirconia dental implants do not have a separate abutment, except for one brand that provides two-piece zirconia implants. Some studies have reported that while zirconia is strong, they are more likely to have material flaws than titanium. Microcracks and pores in the material can make the material fracture, meaning zirconia implants have a slightly higher risk of failure.

Titanium implants usually cost less than zirconia. These factors make titanium a better choice unless you are particular about avoiding metal or allergic to ant metal used in titanium alloys. You can discuss your options with your dentist and get professional advice.

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Dental implant vs bridges vs dentures

A dental implant is an artificial root placed in the jawbone to hold the replacement teeth. However, different teeth replacement options are available.

The term dental implant may be confusing since it can refer to different things. The implant will hold one crown when you want to replace a missing tooth. This crown is different from the crown for repairing a broken tooth.

An alternative to getting an implant and crown for replacing a missing tooth is fixing a bridge to two adjacent teeth to fill the gap. However, the dentist needs to file down healthy teeth, which is a downside.

When you have two or more missing teeth in a row, you may opt for an implant bridge. Instead of inserting one implant for each tooth, the dental professional will insert two implants to support a row of 3 – 4 prosthetic teeth.

Denture implants

If you need to replace all teeth in the upper or lower jaw, a denture implant may be the most suitable solution. This option has a full set of ceramic or acrylic teeth attached to a gum-coloured acrylic base.

While the traditional dentures will sit on the gums and be fixed in place with an adhesive, denture implants clip on the fixed abutment, and they are more stable.

Implant-retained dentures usually cause fewer problems with speech and eating than traditional dentures. They also present no risk of slipping out during a conversation or meal.

Dental implants also offer several other benefits, such as preserving and stabilising the jawbone, preventing further bone loss and maintaining the natural jawline shape. If the jawbone has no implant or tooth root to support it, jawbone recession may occur, resulting in the face sagging.

While single-tooth dental implants and denture implants have a higher upfront cost than the traditional alternatives, they are cost-effective in the long term because they last longer.

Full-mouth dental implants

People who have lost all their teeth can get full-mouth dental implants, called all-on-4 dental implants. Unlike implant dentures, all-on-4 implants are permanently fixed. Many people prefer having fixed teeth instead of those they will remove for cleaning.

Inserting individual roots for each tooth isn't always necessary because an implant root can support several teeth if placed correctly.

Full-mouth implants allow you to replace a full set of missing teeth with only four implants in the lower jaw and 4 – 6 implants in the upper jaw because the bone density is lower. The implants placed at the back are angled at 30 or 45 degrees for a stronger hold.

Full-mouth implants are cheaper than traditional options requiring 8 – 10 implants in each jaw. This implant option is only available in only titanium material because you can't have zirconia implants placed at a sharp angle.

The added benefit of all-on-4 implants is that the entire surgery is in a day, so you don't need several visits to the dentist, so it's also known as teeth in a day.

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Dental implant procedure

Implant dentistry, also called implantology, involves several stages. A dentist with advanced training can perform the procedure like an oral surgeon, prosthodontist, or periodontist.

The procedure below is the general dental implant, but different variations are available, and some steps may be down at the same time or on a different timeline.

  • Preparation

Before dental implant surgery, you will have a thorough dental exam. The dentist will check the bone structure, nerves and sinuses around the areas for treatment. This may involve a jaw X-ray and other scans.

The most accurate radiography available is the cone beam computed tomography which allows the dental professional to assess your oral structure and jawbone. The dental professional will examine your gums and teeth and treat any problems before the procedure.

You need a bone graft before fitting the implants if you have a damaged jawbone or low bone density. A bone graft involves using a commercially available graft material from synthetic or natural sources to stimulate bone growth.

If the bone loss is advanced, you may need surgery to remove bone from another body part to where you will get the dental implant. The bone can also be from another part of the jaw, your hip or chin.

Undergoing a bone graft delays the dental implant procedure because it tables about 3 – 12 months before the bone can support a dental implant.

Another procedure that may prolong the dental implant is tooth extraction. If you have a decayed or damaged tooth removed to prepare for implants, you will wait 1 – 2 months before implant surgery.

Sometimes, extracting a tooth and fixing the screw is on the same day. This process is an immediate implant placement.

Placing a dental implant

Placing a dental implant on or in the jaw is an outpatient procedure, so you don't need an overnight stay in the hospital. You can have the procedure at your dentist's surgery, usually under local anaesthetic. If you are nervous, you can request IV sedation dentistry to relax your nerves.

Your dentist will advise on the most suitable option depending on the procedure's complexity, your anxiety level and the number of implant teeth planned.

This procedure has several steps. The first step is making an incision in the gum to expose the bone, then drilling a hole where the implant will be placed in the jaw, and then screwing the implant in place.

The procedure is complicated and requires precision. The dentist must have undergone specialist training to know the exact spot for the implant and how to place it to last longer.

The dentist will place a healing cap when the implant is in place. This serves two purposes – protecting the implant site and promoting soft-tissue growth. However, it isn't aesthetic, especially when fitted on front dental implants.

The dentist may also stitch your gum and secure it over the implant to protect the area from infection and debris. Your implant will be sore for some days, and you should be careful while eating, cleaning your teeth and drinking.

The implant may take 4 – 6 months to fuse with the bone. This process is known as osseointegration. This is why using a biocompatible material like titanium is important.

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Installing the abutment

After your mouth fully recovers, you will visit the dentist to start the crown placement procedure. The dental surgeon may modify the artificial tooth to fit your existing tooth structure and adjust the abutment before getting your impressions.

The dentist will send the impressions to the lab for constructing the bridge or crown. Some dentists have milling machines at their dental practices to make the restoration during your appointment.

The crown's colour will match the surrounding teeth for a natural look. This is particularly important if you replace a front tooth or have cosmetic dental implants.

When the crown is ready, you will have it attached to the abutment. The crown will be cement-retained or screw-retained, meaning the dentist will fix the crown to the abutment with cement or a screw.

Your dentist will fill the hole to tighten the screw inside the crown with composite if it is a screw-retained restoration.

Some bridges and dentures use clip-on abutments, which allows you to remove them for cleaning. Single-tooth dental implants and other restorations are permanently fixed in place.

Much work is involved in planning, making and placing dental implants, so the dentist's expertise is vital.

Dental implant recovery

After every stage of the dental implant procedure, your body needs time to recover. You may experience some discomfort during your recovery, such as:

  • Slight bleeding
  • Bruised skin and gums
  • Swollen face or gums
  • Pain around the implant area

Many dental surgeons use self-dissolving stitches that dissolve as your wound heals. If you do not get these stitches, you will need an appointment to remove your stitches.

The discomfort should reduce in the days before your treatment. Contact your dentist immediately if you notice pain, swelling or bleeding worsening. You may need stronger painkillers or antibiotics.

Dentists usually advise eating on the opposite side of your mouth to avoid certain chewy or hard foods for a couple of days after each surgery to allow time for the dental implants to settle. You will need to visit your dentist several times to check your treatment progress.

After the treatment and full recovery, you can eat normally. Implant teeth are as strong as your natural teeth. However, ensure you floss and brush your teeth daily to keep the implants, natural teeth, and gums healthy.

If you can't use the regular string floss, get an oral irrigator (water flosser) to help gently clean around your teeth implants.

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How much are dental implants in the UK?

The average dental implant cost in the UK is between £1850 - £3600. However, different factors will determine the amount you will pay for treatment. They include:

  • The existing teeth and gum condition
  • The general oral health
  • The tooth replacement and implant screw type
  • The jawbone's condition
  • Whether surgery such as a sinus lift or bone graft is necessary
  • The number of teeth for replacement and how many implants are needed
  • Whether the implant is for the lower or upper jaw and at the back or front
  • Your location

Some dentists may offer cheaper dental implants that aren't of good quality. Although this may give you an initial saving, the implant may not last long, so you may spend more in the long run.

Getting a dental implant quotation

Your dentist can estimate your dental implant cost without a consultation, but you can't get a final price until the dentist examines your jawbone, gums and teeth.

Some dentists provide the complete cost of getting an implant, while others break it down to give you the cost of each procedure and component. When you get a quote for dental implants, ensure you check if the following things are in the quote, or you will pay separately.

  • Consultations
  • X-rays
  • Dental impressions
  • Follow-up visits
  • CT scans
  • Every part of the implant (bridge/abutment/crown, root, abutment)
  • Temporary crowns, if necessary
  • All surgical procedures

Sometimes, people who need implants require preparatory sinus lift surgery and bone graft. This is often the case if you removed your maxillary molars long ago and your bone has reduced.

The cost of these procedures can be between £200 and £2000, so you have to factor this in when deciding if you can afford dental implants.

Some clinics can lure you to their practice with a low dental implant cost, but when you add the cost of the surgery, scans and crown, the cost adds up to a lot. Consider getting several quotes from local dentists before deciding on one.

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How much is a single-tooth dental implant cost in the UK?

A dental implant per tooth can cost between £1400 and £3600. Front teeth implants are slightly more expensive than back teeth. If you need multiple single dental implants, the cost for each tooth will be slightly less since some costs, like scans and x-ray, only apply once.

Mini dental implants can be 60 – 70% cheaper than traditional dental implants because the materials cost less and the procedure is more straightforward. However, they may not be suitable for all cases because they have a higher failure rate.

A 3 or 4-tooth dental bride held in place with two implants costs from £2800.

How much is a full set of dental implants in the UK?

If all your teeth are missing, you will need full dental implants, which cost £25000 or more using the traditional methods. Denture implants are the cheaper option for replacing all missing teeth because they need fewer implants.

All-on-4 dental implants cost about £7000 per arch in the UK but are available overseas at a cheaper rate. Your exact treatment cost may be higher if you need teeth extraction or other preparatory work or if you want more expensive materials.

Is there public healthcare funding for dental implants?

Limited funding is available for the public health service to subsidised or free dental implants, and the implants are usually only available to people who need them due to uncontrollable circumstances.

If getting an implant is a cosmetic preference, you will not get dental implants in the public healthcare service. If ineligible for implants, you may still get a dental bridge or dentures through a public healthcare dentist.

You can get dental implants privately and other parts of the treatment through the public healthcare service. For example, if you need to remove a damaged tooth before dental implant surgery, you can get this under the public healthcare service, which is charged at the Band 2 rate of £65.20 per treatment.

You may want to check if you will get separate treatment with a public healthcare dentist before switching to a private dentist. Many dentists offer both services.

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In addition to researching the cost of dental implants near you, check nearby cities and towns. You may get a dental practice that offers implants at a lesser cost a few miles from you.

Generally, dental implants in urban areas are cheaper than in cities due to rental and property processes. Competition between several dentists in an area can lead to lower prices.

Are dental implants worth the cost?

Missing one or more teeth can cause more than cosmetic issues. Missing teeth negatively affect your dental health and your quality of life. You experience difficulty talking and eating, and your jaw can lose structure.

The cost of dental implants depends on your condition and the current state of your teeth, jaw and gums. Dental implants may be worth the cost because they improve your dental health, eating ability and other teeth functions.

Does dental insurance cover dental implants?

You may consider getting a dental insurance plan if you need dental implants soon. Insurance policies can cover 50 – 70% of your dental implant's cost, but the coverage may be lower, and some offer no coverage for implants.

Most insurance policies have an annual payout limit below the average dental implant cost in the UK. There is usually a 6 – 12 month waiting before the insurance can cover your implants, and exclusions and restrictions may apply.

Denplan provides optional dental implant cover, but coverage applies to implants needed due to an injury, and the limit is £2100 per dental implant. The plan does not cover pre-existing conditions.

Dental implant financing

If you cannot afford the full up-front cost of a dental implant, ask your dentist about payment options and plans. Most dental practices have ways to help patients spread the treatment's cost.

Dental payment plans often need you to pay a percentage of the treatment's cost when you start treatment, then split the remaining into monthly instalments. You can check for a dental implant payment plan without interest

A personal loan is another option to fund your dental implant procedure.

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How much do dental implants cost abroad?

Many people choose to travel abroad for affordable dental implants. This can save you up to 70% on the dental implant and other treatments. The trend of travelling abroad for treatment is dental tourism.

European countries like Spain, Turkey, Poland and Hungary are popular for low-cost dental implants. You can also combine the trip with a holiday in more exotic countries.

Even with your accommodation and flights, the trips may be cheaper than implant treatment at home.

You may worry about getting a lower standard of treatment at these prices abroad, but destinations known for dental tourism have invested in modern, state-of-the-art dental equipment.

For example, Hungary has a reputation for highly experienced dentists who treat patients from other countries for dental care. Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is only about two and a half hours away from the UK, and many low-cost airlines fly there.

Since the procedure needs an overnight stay, you can enjoy sightseeing in the city.

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These prices do not include accommodation costs and insurance, while the average implant cost in the UK is £2000.

Traditional dental implant treatment needs several visits to the dentist over some months. These trips may cause some inconvenience, especially with time off work. Overseas clinics usually offer single-visit dental implants like the all-on-4 implants or teeth in a day and mini implants.

Before you commit to any dental procedure above, ensure you:

  • Choose a dentist you are comfortable communicating with
  • Read the dentist and clinic's online reviews from past patients
  • Check the country's governing bodies for dentistry
  • Request and verify the dentist's experience and qualifications
  • As how long you will stay for treatment and recovery, including the number of trips you need
  • Understand what the price covers and doesn't cover
  • Calculate the cost of your treatment and trips, and compare with treatment at your local dentist
  • Consult your regular dentist for advice and discuss your aftercare

Are dental implants for me?

Considering the cost, being unsure if dental implants are right for you is understandable. Your dentist can answer your questions about dental implants, but you can get information from other sources before deciding.

If you have anyone who has gotten dental implants, ask them for recommendations and advice. You can also read other people's experiences with implants and your dentist on the dental implant reviews online.

Be confident to ask your potential dentist questions since you will spend a lot on dental implants. Ask for their past dental implant patients' before and after photos to know how natural they look.

You may feel more comfortable choosing an experienced implant dentistry dentist, but this may come at a higher cost.  

Are dental implants a good investment?

Dental implants are a good investment in your oral health. Unlike other dental restorations such as root canals, fillings, bridges and crowns, implants provide a permanent solution when properly placed and maintained.

As the number of treatments you get for a tooth increases, the dental work for its treatments becomes more expensive, and this will exceed the one-time cost of implants. Dental implants are a long-term solution, and the procedure is more complex, so it needs an experienced professional.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons undergo training after dental school, and they are the most qualified dental professionals to carry out dental implant surgery.

The dental professional will inform you of your choices, their benefits, risks and alternatives to ensure you make an informed decision.

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Advantages of dental implants

The advantages of dental implants include the following:

  • Stable and durable
  • Look and feel like natural teeth
  • Permanent, long-lasting solution for missing teeth
  • No speech difficulties
  • A success rate of about 95% after ten years
  • Do not affect adjacent teeth
  • No special cleaning or adhesives needed
  • No risk of misplacing them because they are not removable
  • Allow normal eating

Possible problems with dental implants

Like any dental treatment, dental implants have some drawbacks you should know.

  • Some people do not feel comfortable with the invasive surgery needed
  • Swelling and pain will occur after surgery
  • A small risk of infection after surgery
  • The implants can damage the sinuses and nerves
  • Patients who do not maintain good oral hygiene may have complications
  • Reduced sensitivity when biting, which increases the risk of excess biting force
  • While it is a long-term solution, it requires replacement after about ten years

Another limiting factor is the cost of dental implants. The initial investment is high, but dental implants are less expensive in the long term than other options like bridges and dentures. Dental implants are long-lasting and less likely to become uncomfortable or damaged.

The table below summarises the information on dental implants to help you easily compare your dental implants and other options.

  Implants Bridges (fixed to adjacent teeth) Traditional dentures None (do not replace missing teeth)
Cost High – the most expensive option for  replacing the teeth Cheaper for one or two missing teeth Cheaper to replace a full arch of missing teeth Free
Longevity  Can last at least ten years, possibly a lifetime, with proper maintenance 5 – 15 years or longer 5 – 10 years -
Procedure Jawbone surgery requiring multiple visits over several months for the conventional implants  Needs to remove some enamel on the adjacent teeth Require removing any existing teeth None
Appearance Like natural teeth Like natural teeth May look artificial The gap in the mouth is obvious if it is the front tooth
Risks May get infected and have a small chance of complications or rejection Adjacent teeth and bone may deteriorate over time May get lost, cause mouth sores if they don't fit well and can slip out Surrounding teeth and jawbone are at risk of deteriorating and may cause speaking or eating problems

If you are missing one or several teeth, take advantage of our exclusive dental implant offer at McKennell Dental Practice. Located at 21 Churton Street, London SW1V 2LY, our experienced dentists are ready to consult with you about the best dental implant solutions. Don't miss this opportunity for a transformative dental experience. Call us at 020 7834 8802 to book your appointment and learn more about our exclusive offer.

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Frequently asked questions

Yes, they are. While they have some risks, dental implants are generally safe for restoring missing teeth and have a long history of success.

Without complications, a dental implant can last at least ten years, possibly longer. The current dental implant survival rate is 95.4% after ten years.

Placing a dental implant is under local anaesthetic, so it should hurt. However, some discomfort may occur in the first few days of recovery.

Fitting traditional dental implants takes almost a year. The first 4 – 6 months are for the implants to fuse with the jawbone, then the abutment and crown fitting.

After implant placement, you may experience some soreness, swelling, light bleeding or bruising. Your dentist will prescribe medications to help manage the pain.

Your dentist may restrict what to eat after dental implant surgery as the site recovers. You can make smoothies, juices, fruit and smooth soups to aid your recovery.