Dental Implants FAQs

This article hopes to answer many of your frequently asked questions about dental implants. Belated thanks to Dr Haroon Sher, of Glasgow dental implants centre Glasgow Smile Clinic for his input to this article.

Firstly – what is a dental implant ?

Dental implants are small titanium fixtures,  that effectively become a replacement rooot for a tooth or teeth. This titanium scaffolding is implanted into the jawbone using anaesthesia, and the new titanium root actually becomes part of the patient’s bone through integration and can become more secure than the natural root. After installing these implants, the dental implant practitioner can insert permanent teeth which are designed bespoke for each patient to give a completely natural looking smile.

Can anyone undergo dental implant surgery ?

in most cases, anyone who has lost a tooth or teeth for whatever reason can normally be a candidate for dental implants. The only real requirement is that adequate bone is available in your jaw to support any implants, and gum tissue has to be healthy and clear of any periodontal disease. Some older patients are concerned that they may not be able to undergo the treatment because of their age,  however health is a much more important factor than age.  The reality is that if you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extraction then you’re probably healthy enough to receive dental implants. Ultimately, your dentist will decide whether or not you’re a viable candidate for dental implants after a thorough evaluation of your dental and overall medical health .

What are the benefits of dental implants ?

There are plenty of benefits associated with dental implants, some of which are highlighted here:

Dental implants are more comfortable than full or partial dentures. Although dentures have improved over the years, they still sit on top of the jawbone and with continuous shrinkage of the jawbone, dentures start to slip over time, leading to clicking, gum irritation and constant discomfort.speech is often distorted when dentures are ill fitting, because the teeth slip and slide around and the muscles in the face become tense trying to keep the teeth in place. This can result in mumbling and slurred speech.

Even in patients with excellent denture fitting, they can only eat at around 15 to 20% of the efficiency of a person with full natural teeth. Dental implants give patients almost 100% chewing capacity compared to natural teeth, which lets you eat all your favourite foods with confidence. Dentures also reduce taste to a large degree, particularly with an upper plate.

Of course dental implants being permanent, mean they are far more convenient and you will never have to think about denture adhesive again. Dental implants patients tell of being more confident, outgoing and feeling better about themselves for having had the treatment.

How long does it take for dental implants treatment ?

this more or less depends on the number of implants and the type of treatment involved. The hall process of integrating the implant into the bone can take as little as three months, although it can take 5 to 6 months for a full teeth  replacement.

Nowadays, some dental mplantologists place temporary crowns on the same day as the implant process.

Is dental implant surgery painful ?

with almost any kind of surgery you can expect to have some discomfort, and dental implant surgery is no different. However anaesthesia and sedation should alleviate the vast majority of any discomfort at the time of the operation. The majority of patients report very little pain and  being surprised at how little pain the procedure involved. You will normally be prescribed with pain relief in the initial days after the implant surgery.



Dental Fx

Dental fx is based in Bearsden Glasgow and was founded by Dr Stephen Jacobs in 2006. Although dealing in all aspects of dentistry, Stephen has a special interest in implants and has been placing implants for over twenty years. Dental fx is a teaching centre for dentists and nurses interested in learning more about dental implants and to this end Stephen runs a number of courses throughout the year. The Basic Restorative Course in Implant Dentistry, Advanced Restorative Course in Implant Dentistry, and a Sinus Course are all run by Stephen. The Scottish Dental Implant Course, a year course run at Dental fx by Stephen and Clive Schmulion is currently in its fifth year and is always fully subscribed to. Our head nurse Louise is the first (and only, to date) nurse in Scotland to have gained the Certificate in Dental Implant Nursing from Kings College London and runs a very popular Nurses course for dental nurses interested in implant nursing.

We are also a referral centre for CT scanning and most referrals can be accommodated on a same day basis. Contact for more information regarding appointments

All the staff at Dental fx are well experienced and qualified in their own fields and regularly attend courses to keep up to date with the changing face of dentistry.


Please contact us for more information regarding any of the courses by emailing our course co-ordinator at

Forging a road as a Dental Implant Nurse

Nurses in general dentistry probably ask themselves how they take their first steps into implant nursing Do they need a number of years experience behind them before embarking on a career as a Dental Implant nurse? Do they have to do extra qualifications? Do they have to be a certain age before they will be considered eligible to work in an implant practice? In this article I hope to deal with these questions and also to hear from one nurse who took a rather unconventional route into Implant Nursing.

At the beginning of 2007 when the practice was expanding we were looking to recruit a second nurse, three choices seemed to present themselves:


1 Take on a nurse who already had implant experience

2 Take on a nurse who was already qualified in general dentistry but with no implant experience

3 Take on a trainee nurse with absolutely no experience in any form of dental nursing whatever


After much consideration and mulling over the pros and cons of each option, in the end we decided on option three; take on a trainee that we could train up from day one to the high standard of dental nursing and subsequently implant nursing that we already work to at . At precisely the same time we were making a concrete decision to recruit a trainee nurse we were presented with a CV from a young school leaver so we decided to invite her to attend the practice for an informal interview. At this point I will let Mairi take up her own story:




Mairi’s Story

My name is Mairi Flynn and I have been with Dental fx since leaving school in February 2007. I had no idea what I wanted to do and my parents were adamant that I wasn’t leaving school without having a job to go to. I typed up a CV and with the direction of my mum and dad I handed it in to various surgeries nearby. I had handed in about four or five CV’s and only had one left. My dad and I drove past Dental fx and that is where I put in my last CV…no letter box meant I had to hope for the best in pushing it under the door. It obviously got delivered in one piece as the very next day I got a phone call asking me to come in to the surgery. I also had interviews in two of the other surgeries and was offered a job in both places but Dental fx was the interview that really stuck out for me and it’s where I really wanted to work. I found questions like ‘Are you squeamish?’ and ‘Does a lot of blood bother you?’ a bit unnerving but I answered as honestly as I could, and no, a lot of blood doesn’t bother me, nor am I squeamish.


Believe it or not I was in my bath the following day when Susie the Practice Manager called me to offer me the job of trainee dental nurse. I was so excited and when I told my mum and dad they were so proud of me. To be honest I was proud of myself because it was my first time of attending interviews.


First Day

I was really nervous when I went into the practice on my first day. I had no idea what to expect. This was my first job full stop never mind my first dental nursing job. I was shown around the practice by the nurse Julie and she made me feel so welcome. Luckily I already had my Hep B status cleared so when Julie took me into the surgery and showed me some of the instruments I spent my first day learning the names of them. I thought this was nice and easy until she pulled out all the bur blocks and took me through the function of each bur. At the end of the day I really did think to myself ‘This is going to be easy’…….how terribly wrong I was! Until I had a better idea of what was happening in the surgery I was there to observe and I remember being impatient to hold the aspirator in my hand and be a ‘hands on dental nurse’. Julie has so much patience with me and took time showing me what to set up for each procedure and taught me how to write up very full patient notes which is so important.


On the third day of work Dr Jacobs was carrying out a sinus augmentation and implant placement. I was scared as I had never seen anything like this before and I so much wanted to do well. This was where I first learned the concept of ‘clean nurse, dirty nurse’ and on this occasion I was the ‘dirty nurse’ and helped Julie when she was scrubbed up. I found the procedure fascinating and felt so lucky to be in a practice where so many interesting procedures were carried out. I had so much to learn and was enjoying the new experiences each day produced and I was introduced to a whole new vocabulary which took some time to get used to. My experiences of the dentist growing up were limited to hearing words like ‘filling’ or ‘drill’ or ‘extraction’ so I felt as if a whole new world had opened up to me. As well as having to learn all the procedures of general dentistry there was also the whole side of implant dentistry and I felt I was having to study for two jobs and not just one.



I attended college on a Wednesday day release to study for my SVQ in Dental nursing. On the Wednesday evenings I would study with the girls I met at college and from listening to stories of their day to day work I really did realise that it was very unusual to go straight into an implant surgery from school. Most nurses seemed to have years of experience in general dentistry before moving into implant dentistry. But I was very confident in the training I was receiving at Dental fx from Dr Jacobs and from Julie then Louise who took over when Julie left the practice to live down in England. There is always more to learn both in general dentistry and in implant dentistry. At first I was hesitant about asking questions in case it sounded stupid but Dr Jacobs put me at my ease and said ‘There is no such thing as a stupid question’. One of the things Louise has taught me is the importance of being organized and she has lists for everything in the surgery and is the most organized person I have ever met.


In the summer of 2008 I was on holiday when my exam results came through. I will never forget the phone call I got from my mum telling me my results were in and she wanted to go ahead and open them….we were both screaming down the phone when she read out that I had passed. I contacted all my friends from college and every one of us had passed. It was a real day of celebration.


Bringing things up to date

Passing my dental nursing exam last year was a real milestone for me but I knew I still had/have a lot to learn. I love my work at the practice and I love meeting a patient for the first time and then seeing them further on down the line when they have had their implant placed and are delighted with all that has happened for them. Sometimes they come in initially quite nervous and it is very important that we as implant nurses try to put the patient at ease as much as possible and that they feel they are comfortable with us and trust us. I have learned a lot about myself in the two and a half years I have been in dentistry and I know the importance of working together as a team and encouraging one another and supporting one another.  We have regular meetings which keep everyone in the practice up to date on all that is happening and I enjoy being a part of a team and feeling involved. I would like to go on and do a dedicated qualification in Implant Nursing. After that, when I have gained more experience I would like to be involved in running an Implant Course for dental nurses. At the moment I am involved in the ‘Nurses Day’ when Dr Jacobs along with Dr Schmullion run the Scottish Dental Implant Course. My input on the day involves taking the nurses through the decontamination procedure in the LDU and how to deal with all the Dental Implant instruments. I find this very fulfilling but also daunting as I realise that all the nurses who attend this part of the course are older than me and I need to be sure that I am presenting all the correct up to date information on decontamination and infection control. It is a very good learning ground for me and I feel privileged to be able to be a part of this at such a young age. Louise who has many years experience in Implant Nursing is on hand to constantly offer advice and reassurance and I am very grateful for this input.


Summing up


In the role of Practice Manager there are sometimes difficult decisions to make. In hindsight I feel we made the right decision to go for ‘option 3’ back in February 2007 when we took Mairi on as a trainee dental nurse. It has been hard work on the part of all the team but rewarding to see how Mairi has progressed during her time with Dental fx. In reading Mairi’s story I hope that most of the questions at the beginning of this article will have been addressed. For those interested in a career in dental implant nursing it is definitely a possibility to start straight from school and gain steady knowledge, understanding and experience of implant procedures along with general dentistry. However, the practice taking on a trainee would need to have a dedicated mentor who is willing to spend time with the trainee and implement training structures within the practice. Even an experienced nurse coming to an implant practice should have a training structure in place so that adequate time is given for the nurse to understand new procedures before assuming a level of responsibility. Working towards a dedicated qualification in Implant Nursing should always to be encouraged as should the commitment to lifelong learning.


Dentures or Dental Implants – Which is right for you?

While oral hygiene has improved greatly over the years people still need to replace missing teeth. With advances in technology dentures are no longer the only option. In this article we will review the options available to people when considering dental implants v’s dentures.

The case for dentures

Dentures can be suitable for anywhere you have lost a tooth or teeth because of damage, wear & tear, decay or periodontal disease.  Dentures are made of cast mental, acrylic, a plastic base and of course porcelain for the teeth element. The procedure to make dentures varies in time and last a few weeks. During this time your dentist will examine your teeth, make impressions of the teeth and jaw as well as make moulds. These are sent away to a specialist to create and when they arrive back the final cast is fitted and any minor small adjustments are made.

The only downside to dentures is that in the small percentage of people they can move or make clicking noise when you chew food, which may be embarrassing or cause discomfort. That said upper dentures tend to do this less because of the natural vacuum caused by the roof of the mouth.  Your dentures will need to be re-aligned as your gums and jaw structure change with aging. Dentures are also subject to normal wear and proper oral hygiene is paramount.

The case for dental implants

Dental implants on the other hand are very durable as they are made of titanium and metal which is fully compatible with the human body. The dental implant itself is drilled into the jaw and bone socket. The process is completely painless as you are given a local anaesthetic. Once this is inserted it needs to fuse with the bone. Thereafter it takes 5-8 months to fix the prosthetic tooth onto the implant.

Dental implants or implant-retained dental prostheses are very stable, as they have a root-like portion that fits into the bone socket, like natural teeth. People who have implant-supported artificial teeth can chew efficiently.

The advantages of dental implants

Dental implants alleviate many of the disadvantages of dentures. The main advantages are:

  • The tiny titanium screws acts like a tooth root making the crown more stable
  • They are much more comparable to real teeth in their appearance
  • Some people can be allergic to the materials that are used to create dentures whereas implants are completely bio-acceptable
  • Speech can be generally better with dental implants are there is no slipping
  • There are no sore points with dental implants as they do not move
  • Your ability to chew is completely restored

Disadvantages of Dental Implants

  • Dental implants do take longer to get fitted than dentures
  • Implants are more expensive than dentures.
  • If you grind your teeth at night then implants may not be suitable for you.
  • If you have a phobia of invasive surgery then dental implants may not be for you.

In summary, the choice between dentures and dental implants is a personal one. We hope that this short article highlights the pros and cons with of both.