What are dental implants?
Dental implants are metal posts that are fixed into the jawbone to support a crown, (if you are replacing a single tooth) or to support a bridge or denture (to replace multiple missing teeth).
Having dental implants is a complex and invasive dental procedure, which should be carried out by a dentist who has further qualifications and experience in this area of expertise.
Dental implant procedure
Precise planning is crucial to the success of dental implants, and your dentist will need to be appropriately trained to carry out the procedure. If they haven’t had the appropriate training, they should refer you to an oral surgeon, a restorative or prosthodontic specialist. You should also be aware that there is no such thing in the UK as a ‘registered specialist implantologist’, and dentists who claim this title are potentially misleading their patients.
Your dentist will consider a host of different factors before deciding whether you are suitable for implant(s), including:
- Your general medical health, (including your smoking history)
- The health of your gums and other teeth
- The quality, height and width of your bone
- Whether there is sufficient space for implant(s)
Your dentist will use a variety of diagnostic tools, including x-rays, when assessing your suitability for implants. If these have not been checked by your dentist you may experience implant failure, or serious complications from dental implant surgery.
The procedure itself is usually performed under local anaesthetic; and your dentist will drill a hole into your jawbone, into which the implant is placed. As the jawbone heals, it fuses with the implant (osseointegration). You will then have to go back to have the crown, bridge or denture fitted.
Dental implant claims
Whilst the majority of dental implant procedures go smoothly, unfortunately failures can occur. Some of the complications associated with implants include:
- Failure to assess a patient’s medical history properly before performing a surgery, preventing the dentist from spotting any pre-existing conditions which could then lead to ongoing issues with the implant
- Loosening of the implant due to a failure to fuse to the bone. An infection surrounding the implant (peri-implantitis) could also cause the loosening of an implant, or the jawbone could be of insufficient quality to secure the implant
- Smoking may affect the risk of success of dental implant treatment. If you are a smoker, your dentist should have advised as to whether you are suitable for implants
- A poorly designed or poorly fitting crown, bridge or denture can cause implant failure and/or gum infection
- Penetration of the sinus cavity
- Poor care leading to nerve damage
- Failure to diagnose gum disease before fitting an implant
- Incorrect implant positioning
- Dental implants being imbedded in the jaw at the wrong angle
- Poor implant maintenance, causing them to fail prematurely
- Damage to the surrounding teeth caused by poor care
After treatment your dentist should ensure that you are not experiencing any unnecessary pain or discomfort, along with making sure that you are pleased with the results and that the dental implant is comfortable.
If you feel that your dentist has failed to provide you with a satisfactory level of service, or you have suffered due to below-par or compromised dental implant surgery, you may be able to claim compensation against your dentist for your injuries. For more information, or to discuss your claim with an expert advisor contact us.
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Dental negligence: Dental implant compensation claims – More info:How to get free dental implants
Usually, the only way you can get free dental implants is by going through a dental training school, though not all training facilities offer such services for free.
If you want to opt for dental school treatment, you will need to contact your local institute and see if you qualify. Whilst the treatment may be free, or for a nominal cost, there are other factors that you should take into consideration:
- Treatment and appointments may take longer
- You may only be able to access treatment during term-time and during working hours
- Not all dental schools offer dental implants, so check that your local facility does offer this type of treatment
- Undergraduate dental students rarely provide implants, though some of the university dental hospitals do provide a minimal number of implants to some select patient groups. The implants which are so provided will be placed either by qualified hospital staff, as part of research by qualified hospital staff, or as part of postgraduate training of qualified dentists.
How much does a dental implant cost on the NHS?
The NHS does not offer free dental implants to those who normally pay for their NHS dental treatment; you will only be entitled to implants from the NHS if there is a clinical need, and it is rare that they will be offered. If you do qualify for NHS dental implants, they fall into the band 3 category and are charged accordingly.
Usually, you can only get dental implants by paying for private dental treatment, and each practice will have its own pricing structure. The cost will depend on many factors, such as your dentist’s experience and location.
How long do dental implants take to heal?
How long it can take for a dental implant to heal will depend on a number of factors, including:
- How many implants have been fitted
- The number of teeth affected
- The individual patient
- How you manage your recovery process
If you only have a single implant, and there is little to no post-operative discomfort or swelling, then you should be able to live life as normal. However, you may be advised to stick to a soft diet for a certain period of time.
Undergoing implant surgery normally only involves local anaesthetic and it is quite normal to have some minor swelling, bruising and mild discomfort afterwards. As long as this is well-managed and your mouth is kept clean, you should be able to return to a normal diet within a 1-6-week period.
Are dental implants dangerous?
Whilst all invasive surgery poses some risks, generally, implants are considered to be safe. However, although problems and complications are rare, they do happen. Dental implant risks include:
- Damage or injury to the surrounding area, (this includes damage to other teeth and/or blood vessels)
- Nerve damage, (this can be caused by incorrect placement of the implant)
- Sinus problems, (this only normally happens when a dental implant is placed in the upper jaw and protrudes into the sinus cavity)
How do I know if I have nerve damage from my dental implant procedure?
Nerve damage can occur during a dental implant procedure if the dentist places an implant too close to a nerve, or doesn’t take reasonable care when carrying out the treatment. Dental nerve damage symptoms after dental implants can include:
- Numbness of the tongue, gum, lips or face
- Tingling or burning sensation in the tongue, gums, lips or face
- Pain or sensitivity in the area after the post-procedure healing period has passed (3-5 days)
The first thing you should do, if you suspect that nerve damage has been caused by your dental implant procedure, is to go to see a dentist as soon as possible. You can visit a different dentist if you do not wish to go back to the dentist that carried out your implant procedure.
If you suspect that your nerve damage is down to the negligence of your dentist or the poor care that you have received from them, you might be eligible to make a dental negligence compensation claim.
Contact the Dental Law Partnership today to discuss your options and potential next steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much compensation could I get for a dental implant negligence claim?
As with most dental negligence claims, the amount of compensation that you may receive if your dentist has failed to fit your dental implant(s) to a satisfactory standard will depend on the circumstances of your specific case.
At Dental Law Partnership, our team of expert dental negligence solicitors are on hand to help you with your dental implant compensation claim at every step of the way; contact us today.
How long do dental negligence claims take?
Unfortunately, it is difficult to put an exact time-frame on an implant-related dental negligence compensation claim, as it can vary quite dramatically from case to case. There is a strict legal process that must be adhered to and many cases are settled before they reach court, meaning that a claim could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on how your dentist responds to the claim and other aspects of the legal process, such as evidence gathering and gaining expert opinions. Click here for full details of the dental negligence claims process.
How much does it cost to make a dental compensation claim?
At the Dental Law Partnership, our cases are usually funded by a no win, no fee agreement. This means that even if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not pay any legal costs.
Contact us today for an initial, no obligation chat about your claim.
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A MAN FROM THE SOUTH EAST HAS LOST HIS TOOTH AND UNDERWENT UNESSECARY ROOT CANAL TREAMENT AFTER HIS DENTIST FAILED TO SPOT TOOTH DECAY. • Mr L lost his tooth after his dentist failed to spot and treat tooth decay. • He also underwent unnecessary pain and an avoidable root canal procedure. • £10,000 awarded […]
• A woman from the east of England suffered an avoidable period of pain and suffering as a result of infection and suffered an avoidable repeat root canal treatment. • Ms C lost a tooth and will lose another tooth in the future. • £8,000 awarded in compensation Between 2011 to 2013 […]
• Ms R experienced severe episode of pain and sensitivity • An infection in her tooth was left to spread which eventually led to its avoidable extraction • £5,000 awarded in compensation Ms R suffered multiple episodes of pain when her dentist failed to perform a root canal treatment properly, this meant many trips to […]
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