How long is a consultation, what does it cover, and how much does it cost?
At Norfolk Dental Specialists we typically allow 45 minutes for the consultation appointment, although it can occasionally be shorter, depending on the patient’s dentist referral.
This comprises an initial interview to establish what the patient’s dental concerns are and what they would like to achieve. Next comes a thorough assessment of the health of the patient’s teeth, gums and mouth. Sometimes we take x-rays, and occasionally further tests may be required. From this we’ll discuss the findings with the patient, and provide a fee estimate.
We’ll then send a written report to the patient containing a precise, individually-tailored plan to achieve dental health, together with exact costs and time scales. Consultations cost £130.
What is an implant and what are implants made of?
An implant is an artificial root that we embed in the patient’s jawbone to use as a solid foundation for crowns, bridges, or to anchor dentures. The aim of implants is usually to provide fixed tooth replacements, or additional retention to loose dentures.
The implants we use are made of pure titanium and have over 20 years of research and ‘track record’ behind them. More recent implants have been made of other materials, including ceramic, but because there is limited data available on their long-term performance, we don’t currently use them.
How much do implants cost?
This depends on a variety of factors including the number of teeth being replaced, and the condition of the patient’s mouth prior to implant placement.
For example, to replace a single tooth with sufficient bone present is £2,200. Where multiple teeth are missing, we can make a saving by placing two implants to support three replacement teeth – at a cost of £5,500. Replacing ten of the patient’s lower teeth with the placement of four implants incurs a fee of £10,000.
How long does implant treatment take?
It depends on the type of treatment, but generally a simple single-tooth replacement can take 10 weeks from start to finish, whereas more complex treatments can take up to a year.
Most implants will require healing to the jawbone, which usually takes 2-4 months. During this period, it’s sometimes possible to place a provisional restoration on the implant. Once the implant has healed, making the artificial tooth can take between one and four appointments over 2-8 weeks.
Will I have a gap during the treatment
While the implant is healing, we will always give the patient a temporary tooth replacement in the form of a denture or a temporary bridge. At no time are patients left with a missing front tooth. In certain circumstances, we can actually use the implant to support a temporary crown during the healing phase.
Will I feel pain during treatment?
Implant placement is a minor surgical procedure. This procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic. This means that the area that is being treated is completely numb, and there should be no pain when the treatment is being carried out. It is not uncommon for patients to experience pushing, and pressure during implant placement.
Following implant placement there can occasionally be swelling, bruising and discomfort. From our own in-house audits, we have realised that 80% of our patients found the experience better than what they imagined, and that their discomfort was well controlled afterwards.
The skills, experience and expertise of the implant surgeon plays a large part in the outcome of the treatment.
How many implants will I need?
Usually, if a single tooth is missing, the patient will need on implant. But often when multiple teeth are missing, we can reduce this implant-to-tooth ratio. In fact, if all teeth are missing in the lower jaw, we can replace up to ten using only four implants.
How long will implants last?
Clinical studies that have tracked implant treatment for up to 35 years reveal a high success rate, with most indicating that 90% of implants placed over ten years ago are still functional today.
The success of dental implant depends on their quality, the skills and expertise of the clinician, and the care and attention devoted to the restoration (tooth replacement). How well patients look after their teeth at home, and maintain them through the hygienist, are also influential factors.
Will I be asleep during the treatment?
No. We usually carry out implant treatment under local anaesthetic, which simply numbs the relevant area. However, if the patient is particularly nervous, we can provide ‘conscious sedation’. This will give the patient an intense state of relaxation, but is not a general anaesthetic. The patient will still be able to respond to the dentist’s requests, but often won’t remember anything about the procedure afterwards!
What does gum treatment consist of?
Gum treatment involves the removal of plaque from around the surfaces and roots of teeth to provide a health environment, reduce gum inflammation and prevent bone support loss. We usually carry it out over a number of sessions, during which we’ll also give the patient additional tools, techniques and skills to help improve their oral care at home.
How much is gum treatment?
The initial process will depend on the severity of the patient’s gum condition on presentation. Simple cases may only require a few sessions and cost as little as £400. Where more sessions are needed, this can rise up to £980.
Why do I have to see the hygienist?
A hygienist is a specially trained clinician who helps with improving the patient’s dental and gum health. The hygienist is likely to work with the patient to help improve their home care. Hygienist will also thoroughly remove plaque from around the patient’s tooth surfaces.
The success of dental implant treatment, and gum treatment very much depends on effective and thorough oral hygiene. In certain circumstances, we cannot proceed without the patient seeing a hygienist. Long-term studies have also shown that implants with the longest life reside in healthy, plaque free mouths. Regular maintenance with the hygienist allows this.