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A man havign his questions answered by BDS

I have so many patients whom Amit has helped to control their periodontal situation.
R. H.

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Your questions answered

It is understandable that you may have a few questions when it comes to dental procedures. Below we have answered some of the more common questions regarding dental implants, periodontics (gum disease), radiography and teeth whitening. Hopefully these will help you out but if you still want clarification about any dental treatments, please contact us today.

Dental implants FAQs

Q. What are dental implants?
A. A dental implant is a titanium metal screw which is placed into the jaw bone. It is used to support one or more false teeth. In practice, both the false teeth and their supporting screw are known as ‘implants’.

Q. Are implants safe? How long will they last?
A. Implants are a well-established, tried-and-tested treatment. 95% of modern implants last for at least 15 years.

Q. I have some of my own teeth. Can I still have implants?
A. YES. You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants – from one single tooth to a complete set.

Q. Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?
A. It depends on the state of the bone in your jaw. Your implant dentist will arrange for a number of special tests to assess the amount of bone still there. If there is not enough or if it isn’t healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first. This treatment can also be performed by your implant dentist.

Q. Do implants hurt?
A. Placing the implants requires a small surgical procedure. This is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. Sedation may also be arranged. You will not usually feel any pain during the procedure but you may feel some discomfort during the following week. This is usually due to having stitches in place and a degree of swelling that is expected as part of the healing process.

Q. Can I have the new teeth straight away?
A. NO. The implants need to bond (integrate) with the bone after they have been placed. This takes at least 3 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper jaw. If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you will have a small temporary partial denture in the meantime. If you have complete dentures, then you can wear them throughout the healing period once they have been adjusted after the surgery.

Q. How long does treatment take?
A. It can take between 3 to 6 months from the initial assessment to the time when the artificial teeth or dentures are finally attached to the implants. A lot depends on how complicated your treatment is. Your implant dentist will be able to give you an estimated timescale once the dental implant has been placed.

Q. Are the teeth difficult to clean?
A. Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. You will be shown techniques to help you to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.

Q. If I had gum disease when I had my own teeth, will I get it with the teeth attached to the implants?
A. IT IS POSSIBLE, if you don’t care for them well enough. If you keep them clean and don’t smoke, then you should not have any problems.

Q. Do the implants show?
A. Your implant dentist will make sure that the implants will not show during all normal movements of the mouth and lips.

Q. Do I need an implant for each missing tooth?
A. NO, unless you’re only having a single tooth replaced. For several missing teeth, two or three implants may be used to support a bridge. To replace all the teeth in one jaw a minimum of six implants is usually required, as each implant can usually support two teeth.

Q. Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?
A. Most artificial teeth attached to implants can only be placed and removed by the implant dentist. However, if you have complete dentures fixed to the implants by bars, then you’ll be able to take them out for cleaning.

Q. What happens if the implant does not integrate into the bone?
A. This happens very rarely. If the implant becomes loose during the healing period or just after, then it is easily removed and healing takes place in the normal way. Once the jaw has healed, another implant can be placed there.

Q. Is the treatment expensive?
A. In many situations the cost of the treatment is only a little more than the cost of more conventional treatment with crowns and bridges. Dental implants can be expected to last for 15 years, at least. Many patients with dental implants would consider this treatment as a worthwhile investment in their health and well-being.
There are other advantages too. An implant to replace a single tooth avoids the need to cut down the teeth either side for crowns to support a bridge. Poorly fitted dentures often mean you can’t eat or speak well due to the dentures moving about. Teeth attached to an implant do not cause this problem.

Periodontics (gum disease) FAQs

Q. What is Periodontal (gum) Disease?
A. Periodontal disease is an infection that affects the gums, bone and other supporting tissues of the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Periodontal Disease is usually painless therefore you may not be aware that you have it.
Although most individuals suffer gum inflammation from time to time, around 10% of the population appear to suffer from the more severe forms of the disease which can cause loss of supporting bone. It is caused by the accumulation of plaque which regularly collects on the teeth and under the gum line. (all answers to open up in an accordion)

Q. How do I know if I have Periodontal Disease?
A. Symptoms are often not noticeable until the disease is advanced.
They include:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away or bad taste
  • Red swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums on brushing
  • Loose teeth or drifting teeth
  • Sensitive teeth

Q. How is Periodontal Disease treated?
A. Thorough cleaning of the root surfaces of your teeth below gum level. The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of your gum disease.
Treatment requires good daily oral care at home. Modifying certain behaviours such as stopping smoking, will help improve the treatment outcome.

Q. What happens if Periodontal Disease is not treated?
A. As gum disease progresses painlessly the damage it can cause is not always noticeable. However, if left untreated it can lead to gum abscesses leading to pus ooze from around your teeth.
Over a number of years, the bone supporting your teeth can be lost causing teeth to become loose and eventually lost. If the gum disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.

Q. What are the treatment aims?
A. To return your gums to good health and help prevent progression of the disease. Most importantly to save your teeth. Once we have achieved good gum health you will be referred back to your dentist, we provide them with a full report of the treatment performed and a maintenance programme.

Teeth whitening FAQs

Q. What does treatment involve?
A. Firstly, you will be asked to be seen by a General Dental Council registered dentist. This is important as there are now a number of beauty salons, hairdressers etc, that are performing tooth whitening.
Please remember that these salons have had not had the rigorous training that Dental Care Professionals have had. During this consultation your dentist will discuss teeth whitening options with you, discuss costs and take a shade of your teeth prior to the bleaching. You maybe be asked to book another appointment to have your impressions taken. These impressions are then sent to a dental laboratory and your custom made bleaching trays are constructed. This can take usually between one – two weeks depending on what bleaching system you use.
If you wish we can do this at your initial consultation, however some clients like to have time to think about their treatment. Once we have your bleaching trays we will provide you with your bleaching treatment to use at home. The systems we use are not available over the counter and can only be prescribed by a dentist. Full instructions will be given to you on how to use the bleach safely and correctly. After approximately two weeks you will be asked to return to the surgery for a review appointment and a final ‘post bleaching’ shade will be taken.
If you have opted for the more advanced system you will receive the final stage of your treatment and an ‘in-house’ bleaching will be performed by the dentist. At this appointment higher % bleach will be used to achieve the final result. (all answers to open up in an accordion)

Q. Are there any common problems with tooth whitening?
A. Sensitivity of the teeth is the most common side effect of tooth bleaching and usually occurs around the necks of the teeth where the gums have receded.
If you begin to experience any sensitivity you should stop the treatment for a few days until they have settled. If the teeth become ultra-sensitive you can place sensitive tooth paste into the bleaching trays for an hour a day. If there are any concerns please do not hesitate to contact your dental care professional.
Speckling/white spots on the teeth are also quite common and these spots will appear whiter during the first few days and can only really be seen from very close, however the contrast between the spots and the rest of the tooth will gradually become less over a few days.

Q. Does bleaching harm the teeth or gums?
A. Studies have shown that bleaching teeth using products prescribed by a general dental practitioner is perfectly safe on the teeth, cheeks, gums and tissues in the mouth.

Q. How long do the results last?
A. The results can last for up to one year depending on your social health and diet. Factors such as smoking need to be taken into consideration and different types of foods and drinks may again discolour your teeth even after they have been whitened. Some patients feel it necessary to do a ‘top up’ treatment. Some patients do not need to. A top up treatment consists of you purchasing more bleach from your dentist to use at home with your bleaching trays. Once the ‘top up’ treatment is complete the results will again last approximately one year.

Radiography FAQs

Q. How long is my appointment going to take?
A. The actual CBCT should take no longer than ten seconds. The total appointment time (including registration, positioning, scanning and scan verification is less than an hour. (all answers to open up in an accordion)

Q. Is there anything I need to do prior to my CBCT scan?
A. You will not need to prepare for your CBCT but please ensure that all jewellery above shoulder height has been removed. This includes necklaces, ear-rings, tongue piercings, nose studs and lip piercings. If necessary do not forget to bring your referral notice. You are more than welcome to bring a chaperone to your appointment but please be aware that they will not be allowed into the imaging suite whilst you

Q. What will happen to me during the scan?
A. Once in the examination room your dental radiographer will explain the process and ask a few questions. Female patients should tell the radiographer if they are likely to be pregnant. Each stage of the scan will be explained to you before taking place and due to our design and layout it is possible for the radiographer to stay in the room with you whilst performing your scan. You will be asked to position your head onto a chin rest whilst the scan is taking place the machine will then rotate around your head and your scan will be complete, as we are using state of the art equipment the actual scan will take no longer than ten seconds. It is very important that you remain very still during the scan to have as clear pictures as possible.

Q. What about the radiation aspects?
A. By using sophisticated equipment we aim to keep radiation to our patients as low as reasonably achievable and you must remember that any risks associated are greatly outweighed by the benefits of having the CBCT in the first place.

Q. When will my referrer get the results?
A. After the scan the dental radiographer will forward the data to your referring dentist or to the radiologist. You can also get a copy of the scan if you wish.

Q. What happens next?
A. Your referring dentist will get in touch and you can continue your treatment plan with them.

The following are answers for the dentist
Q. How do I prepare my patient for a CBCT scan?
A. At Birmingham Imaging Centre there is not really much of a difference between undergoing an OPG or a CBCT as the machine is free standing and simply rotates around the patients head. Your patient may need plenty of reassurance so please explain that the process is very straightforward and that the actual CBCT should only take a few seconds. Please also ensure that your patient is aware that they will be asked to remove all facial jewellery eg earings, nose studs tongue piercings.

Q. What should I do if my case is urgent?
A. Please call the centre on 0121 643 4147 to arrange urgent referrals.

Q. How will I view my digital CBCT?
A. All images will be sent with the “Oneviewer” programme which will allow you to view and manipulate your image.

Q. What about the radiation dose to my patient?
A. We can ensure you that we will keep the radiation dose to your patient as low as reasonably possible and use a short radiation exposure time of approximately 9.4 seconds.

Find out more about our dental treatments, call 0121 643 4147

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