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Irfan Haque graduated in 1998 from the University of Leeds and went on to work in general practice. He has attended a number of postgraduate courses including: intravenous sedation for the treatment of nervous patients; a year cosmetic and advanced restorative course; as well as a multisystem year course in implant dentistry. His interests in dental implantology led him to further his education and gain a Masters degree in dental implantology.
A: Dental implants are one of the methods that can be used in order to replace missing teeth. The way they are mounted onto posts and inserted into the jaw during surgery means that they have an appearance and feeling that is just like ordinary teeth.
A: Although there are many advantages to having implants, they are not suitable for everyone. You need to have healthy gums and be in good general health. An important requirement is that the patient has enough jawbone to take the posts and support the replacement teeth. Some chronic diseases, such as diabetes, osteoporosis or chronic sinus problems could interfere with healing and make implants more likely to fail.
A: If you choose to have implants, you will undergo surgery twice or more over a period of several months. Because they are a complicated form of treatment, your dentist will go through each stage of the treatment with you before it begins and also give you a timetable for completing treatment. You might be referred to a specialist if necessary.
A: The dentist will expose the bone in the jaw where the tooth is missing. He will then drill a hole and insert a metal post into the bone. This is usually done under a local anaesthetic, but sometimes sedation or, if you are in hospital, a general anaesthetic is used. The gum is then stitched over the post and is then left to heal for several months while the bone grows around the post, making it secure.
After this period, the second operation then happens, in which replacement teeth are mounted onto the metal post. This requires a small cut in the gum above the implant. The replacement teeth might be single or in a group, and possibly as a 'bridge', attached to neighbouring natural teeth. They may be fixed permanently or attached in a way that lets you remove them for cleaning.
A: After surgery, it is absolutely essential to maintain good mouth hygiene and visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist will advise you on the ideal regularity with which you should visit for your aftercare.