Dental Team Luzern - Clinic Dr. Schulte

Implants

Questions and answers

How long do implants last?

The durability of implants has been studied for about 30 years in long-term studies. The results to date are encouraging and indicate that, with good oral hygiene and regular check-ups, implants placed by an experienced dental surgeon can last a lifetime.

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Are implants an option for all patients?

Generally speaking, yes, except in the case of some rare diseases. Age is not relevant. Implants in older patients have the same good prognosis as in young patients. However, good oral hygiene is essential.

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of dental implants?

Advantages
With implants it is possible to provide aesthetically pleasing fixed tooth replacement even in cases where in the past only removable bridges or dentures were possible. Another advantage is that, in contrast to bridges, it is not necessary to file down the adjacent teeth. Implants prevent bone loss and give full dentures firm anchorage.
Disadvantages
The need for a surgical procedure can be perceived as a disadvantage, likewise the healing time for integration of the implants (except in the case of immediate loading). Implant treatments can also be more expensive than conventional dentures or bridges.
Before deciding on implant treatment the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment must be carefully weighed up in each individual case.

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Is implant placement painful? What can I expect after the operation?

The procedure under local anaesthesia is completely painless. If desired, additional sedative medication (conscious sedation) can be given or the procedure can be performed under general anaesthesia. After the treatment it is normal to feel some soreness for a few days. This can easily be controlled with pain medication. Some more or less marked swelling for 3-5 days is also normal, sometimes there can be bruising but it will fade rapidly.

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How long is the healing period and can I wear a temporary tooth replacement during this time?

The healing time required before an implant can be loaded depends on the bone quality and the number, length and diameter of the implants. In ideal cases when several stable implants are involved immediate loading is sometimes even possible. Otherwise it is normally necessary to wait 6-12 weeks before the implants can be uncovered and loaded. If bone augmentation is necessary, the healing period can be as long as 6 months or so. We usually make a provisional tooth replacement before implant placement which can normally be fitted immediately after the operation so that the patient is not without teeth at any time.

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Is an implant necessary for each missing tooth?

No, implant supported bridges are possible in which missing teeth can be replaced by bridge elements. If all the teeth are missing or have to be extracted it is often sufficient to place four implants to support a complete bridge with 12 teeth (All-on-4).

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Are implants covered by health insurance?

The statutory health insurance funds in Switzerland generally only pay for dental treatment with or without implants in exceptional cases if the tooth damage was caused by serious medical conditions. Click here for further information on costs and insurance cover.

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Is general anaesthesia necessary for dental implants?

As the procedure can be performed painlessly with local anaesthesia, general anaesthesia is not usually necessary for simple implant placement. General anaesthesia is only indicated in the case of more major operations involving implants in both jaws and bone augmentation. However, many patients prefer not to be conscious during their treatment and therefore choose treatment under general anaesthesia which we offer as an option. A good alternative is sometimes additional sedation with medication or laughing gas in addition to the local anaesthesia. This is known as conscious sedation.
For detailed explanations on the topic of general anaesthesia and sedation click here

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How much time to I need to take off work after implant placement?

This depends on the extent of the operation. After a single-tooth implantation you can normally go back to work immediately. After larger operations you should take it easy for 2-3 days.

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Can you have implants at any age?

In young people implants can only be placed when jaw growth is complete, that is from about the age of 18 years. In adults there is no upper age limit. Statistically, implants in older people are just as successful as in young people as the ability of the bone to integrate the implant does not decline with increasing age. However, meticulous oral hygiene is essential.

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Is implant treatment still possible if there is severe bone loss?

Normally, when we talk of bone loss we mean osteoporosis, a condition which occurs particularly in women after menopause and in which the bone loses its stability. Osteoporosis can also affect the jawbone. However, in most cases implantation is possible even with osteoporosis. It may be necessary to place more implants to support larger bridges and to allow a longer healing period in order to prevent overloading. Sometimes we also talk of bone loss when we mean local loss of bone in the mouth, e.g. after periodontal gum disease or in toothless parts of the jaw. This kind of bone loss is also called atrophy. If there is insufficient bone for implantation as a result of atrophy bone augmentation can help. We also use methods which permit implant placement without bone grafting even in a toothless jaw with extreme atrophy (zygoma-implant).

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Is smoking bad for implants?

Today we know that heavy smokers (more than 10 cigarettes per day) have a higher risk of losing implants than non-smokers. Smoking suppresses the body's local mechanisms for fighting off harmful bacteria with appropriate antibodies. This means that smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop bone loss around their natural teeth (periodontal disease) or implants (peri-implant disease). In particular after major operations with bone augmentation smokers have a definitely higher risk of complications. We therefore advise our smoking patients to give up smoking before implant treatment.

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Can dental implants be rejected by the body?

Titanium is an extremely biocompatible material which does not cause a foreign body reaction in the bone. There are no reports of allergy to titanium either. A genuine rejection reaction is therefore not possible. Loosening or failure of implants is due to overloading of the bone (e.g. too short a healing time, poor bone quality) or bacterial infections but not to rejection by the body

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Are there different quality implants?

There are innumerable implant manufacturers on the market but only few systems are supported by long-term scientific studies. We use implants from the companies Straumann, Nobel Biocare and 3i that are supported by excellent documentation. Furthermore, these market leaders guarantee the component supply even after many years. This is extremely important when, for example, we need to replace a connecting screw after ten years.

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What do you think about claims such as "permanent teeth in a day"?

As we all know, advertising claims often have little to do with reality. The immediate loading of implants, meaning the immediate attachment of a fixed tooth replacement to freshly placed implants, has considerable benefits for the patient: chewing is significantly more comfortable during the healing phase, there is no need for removable provisional bridgework and a significant time saving. However, in each individual case these benefits must be weighed up against the potential risks, which should not be underestimated. It is also important that the implantologist has extensive experience with immediate loading of implants. In our practice we use this method in selected cases in which the benefits for the patient clearly outweigh the risks.

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How do I care for my implants?

The rules for implants are basically the same as for natural teeth: Good oral hygiene is recommended and pays. The use of dental floss and interdental brushes is helpful for keeping the area between the implants clean. Our experienced dental hygienists will be happy to help you and give you instructions about proper use of the various dental care products.

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