Suitability for dental implants


Dental implants are a way of replacing missing teeth. Most adults can have dental implants, but there are a few exceptions. Every case is different, and your dentist will discuss in detail the solutions that’ll work for you during your initial consultation.

Certain lifestyle habits, medical conditions and treatments can affect how an implant heals and also impact the gum and bone surrounding your implants.

If you aren’t a suitable candidate for dental implants, your dentist can talk you through alternative options for missing teeth, which might include bridges or dentures. 

When are dental implants not recommended?

  • You have had radiotherapy in or around your jaw
  • You have diabetes that isn’t well controlled
  • You smoke (including e-cigarettes) or chew tobacco
  • You drink heavily
  • You take recreational drugs
  • You have active gum disease

Implants and gum disease

Your mouth needs to be in a healthy condition before you can have implants. If you have activer gum disease, you won’t be able to have dental implants. Gum disease creates an environment that increases the risk of infection around dental implants. This can lead to the failure and even loss of the implant.

Gum disease can be managed using regular hygiene treatment, antibiotics or surgery, depending on how severe it is. Once your gum disease is under control, you might be able to have implants. Your dentist will give you a clear treatment plan when you visit them for your consultation.

Implants and smoking

If you smoke, your dentist will recommend that you give up before you have your implant fitted.

It’s possible to have dental implants if you smoke, but the procedure can be more complicated and is more likely to fail. This is because smoking causes a number of adverse effects on your oral health, including a dry mouth (where the bacteria that cause gum disease can grow) and reduced blood flow, which slows the healing process and the integration of the implant into your jawbone.

The first few weeks after implant surgery are when this integration process starts and the bone begins to fuse with your implant. Smoking during this time can significantly increase the chance of infection. Smoking after this period can lead to bone deterioration around your implants, causing them to fail.

How will I know if I’m suitable for implants?

The first step to deciding whether implants are right for you is to see your dentist for an initial consultation.

During your consultation, your dentist will go through your medical history in detail. You’ll have a clinical assessment where your dentist will explain whether implants are an option for you. They’ll also talk you through other solutions that might be right for you.

If you’re able to have implants, your dentist will talk you through the best type of implants for you; and tell you if you need any supporting treatment before the procedure, such as hygiene treatment, bone grafting or sinus lifts.

Interested in dental implant treatment?

If you’re interested in having implants placed, get in touch with your local Bupa implant dentist to talk through your options.

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A dental implant is a small titanium screw which replaces your tooth root. It’s gently and precisely placed into your jawbone by your dentist.

Dental implants usually take 10 to 16 weeks to heal. This involves your jawbone fusing to the implant.

Once the implant is fused, a crown (false tooth) can be fitted, or a bridge with three false teeth can be placed over two implants. Alternatively, the implant could be used to secure a loose denture.

In some cases, temporary false teeth can be placed on the same day that the implant is placed, often referred to as smile or teeth in a day.

Implants are placed under local anaesthetic, which numbs the mouth to prevent pain. You’ll feel some discomfort once the anaesthetic has worn off, which could last for a few days, and you may notice bruising and swelling which could last for around one week. This is normal and any discomfort can be managed using over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. If you experience severe pain, contact your dentist for advice.

If you’re nervous about the procedure, let your dentist know and they may be able to offer you dental sedation to help you relax.

Here at Bupa Dental Care, implant treatment starts at £2,400*. During your consultation, your dentist will perform a clinical assessment, so they can give you a full breakdown of the costs. You’ll then be given a personalised treatment plan, so you know exactly what you’ll be paying and why. If you’d prefer not to pay for treatment in one lump sum, we have patient finance available to help you spread the cost with monthly payments**.

Find out more about the cost of implants.

If you’d like to understand an estimated cost of your individual case before visiting the dentist, you can speak to one of our implant enquiry coordinators: Call us on 01454 771490

An implant is a titanium screw which is placed into your jawbone. Being made of titanium, implants are biocompatible.

This means your body accepts them as its own and your bone will attach onto the implant. This process is called osseointegration.

It usually takes around 10 to 16 weeks for your bone to fuse to the implant and your mouth to heal. You would then be ready to have a false tooth (crown) placed over the implant.

Dental implants can be suitable for adults of all ages but aren’t recommended for those under 18 as the jaw is still growing.

Most people are suitable for dental implants. However, the chances of your body rejecting the implant are increased in some cases. For example, if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, that isn’t under control, this could lessen your chances of success.

Some lifestyle habits can affect how successful your implant might be, such as smoking, using e-cigarettes or taking recreational drugs. If you smoke, your dentist will advise you to give up as it can slow healing and affect gum health.

Some people may need supporting treatment before having implants, such as a bone graft or a sinus lift. This is needed when there isn’t enough bone in your jaw to support the implant.

Receding gums could be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease can result in bone loss around your teeth, which can cause your teeth to become loose over time and potentially fall out. Most gum disease can be prevented, or treated, but some people are very susceptible.

Gum disease can affect implants in the same way, which is known as peri-implant disease. This can cause rapid bone loss and is much more difficult to treat.

In all cases, any degree of gum disease should be treated and eradicated before implants are placed.

The NHS only offers dental implants in rare cases, for example, if you’ve suffered from mouth cancer, or if you’ve lost teeth following a serious accident.

If you think you may be eligible, your dentist will need to check if you meet the criteria. If you aren’t eligible, you can opt to have implants privately, or your dentist can discuss other NHS alternatives to implants that might be suitable.

There are two main alternatives to implants: bridges and dentures. Your dentist will help you choose the right solution for you during your dental implant consultation.

A dental bridge is designed to bridge a gap in your mouth. While implant supported bridges replace three missing teeth, bridges can also replace a single missing tooth. This type of bridge can include a false tooth with two crowns attached either side of it. The crowns are placed over the two adjacent natural teeth, which need to be filed down to support them. Sometimes, an adhesive bridge can be used. This includes a single false tooth with wings that attach onto the teeth next to it.

Dentures are frameworks that carry one or many replacement teeth. They’re removable, unlike an implant or bridge which is fixed in place. Dentures can also be clipped onto implants, which are known as implant- supported overdentures.

Read more about the differences between implants and bridges and the differences between implants and dentures.

Having a dental implant placed is safe if all the correct protocols are followed.

As with any surgical procedure, there are always risks involved. These include inaccurate implant placement, which could lead to further problems, such as having the final tooth in the wrong position. Sometimes, implants fail to integrate with the bone and fall out. Rarer complications of implant surgery include damage to your nerves or surrounding teeth.

Always do your research and ensure you use a reputable, experienced, GDC registered dentist. At Bupa Dental Care, we have a network of experienced and trained clinicians offering implant treatment, who are dedicated to providing quality care. If you have any questions about the risks of implant surgery, speak to your implant dentist.

Typically, over 90% of dental implants last 10 years or more.

Your dentist will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions, so you have the best chance of a successful, long-lasting implant.

Implant treatment usually takes between three to eight months, but every case is different. It may take longer if you need extractions or a bone graft first. After your clinical assessment, your dentist will advise you, if you need any supporting treatments and give you a clearer estimate of how long your treatment will take.

Bupa Dental Care also offers Smile-in-a-Day treatment, which replaces all your lower or upper teeth in one day. This involves placing four to six implants in the jaw and fitting a temporary bridge, leaving you with a full set of teeth. Once the implants have integrated into your bone, the temporary bridge is replaced with a permanent bridge. This procedure eliminates the need for multiple surgeries with long-healing periods.

Also known as Smile in a Day, All-on-4 dental implant treatment replaces the entire upper and/or lower teeth with a set of connected false teeth, placed on only four dental implant screws.

This procedure is available at some Bupa Dental Care practices. Find your nearest practice offering dental implants.

Your implant will be placed directly into your jawbone, so your dentist needs to ensure you have enough bone to support the implant, in the area of placement.

If this isn’t the case, your implant dentist might recommend a bone graft. Although it may sound daunting, it’s not uncommon and your implant dentist will be there for you every step of the way.

Implants can fail if your bone doesn’t integrate with it. Although this is rare and generally, over 90% of implants last 10 years or more.

Certain lifestyle habits such as smoking can affect the integration of your implant, as well as oral health problems such as gum disease. It’s important to follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions and keep the implant clean.

The first sign of an implant failing is very slight movement that worsens over time. Other warning signs may be loss of gum around the implant and severe pain or swelling (although it’s normal to experience some discomfort and inflammation during the healing period). If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to your dentist.

After your implant is placed, your dentist will guide you on how to reduce the risk of your implant failing.

If you’re interested in having dental implant treatment, you can either speak to an enquiry coordinator about potential costs or find your nearest Bupa Dental Care practice offering implants and book an initial consultation.

Call us on 01454 771490

More about dental implants

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.

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