A dental implant is a screw-like component that is inserted into the jawbone to take the place of a missing tooth or to support a crown, bridge or denture. It is usually made of titanium, which helps it bond to the bone. It will look, feel and perform just like a natural tooth.
Dental implants are suitable for most adults with good general health. They are usually not used with younger patients. It is important to discuss your general health and habits with the dentist prior to placing a dental implant. Some habits like smoking and heavy drinking can increase the risk of problems associated with healing once the implant is placed.
From the time of implant placement to the time of placing the tooth, treatment times can vary but normally involves a time period of 3-6 months.
Implants can last as long as natural teeth, as long as they are cared for correctly, just as with a natural tooth. Your personal attention to oral hygiene and regular maintenance reviews will be of vital importance as, if not cared for, an implant can cause infection, soreness, bleeding and general discomfort.
There are a number of stages involved that take place over a period of time ranging from 3-6 months.
At the initial assessment and after discussing all treatment options available to you, X-rays will be taken and models of the teeth made to help assess the bone quantity and quality. A treatment plan will be given to you detailing each stage and the cost involved.
This is a relatively simple procedure that is performed in the dental surgery with some local anaesthetic.
Once the implant is placed, a period, usually of 3-6 months, is required for the bone to integrate with the implant.
When integration has taken place the implant can be restored to bring it into use with different options such as a single crown, a small or large bridge or a full arch solution.
It is important once the implant placement is completed that the patient follows the oral hygiene instructions given by the dentist or dental hygienist. They should also attend the hygienist regularly for maintenance and to the dentist to review the health of the soft tissue, bone levels and the restoration.
Most people will have had some local anaesthetic while undergoing routine treatments like fillings. The same local anaesthetic is used when placing an implant. The placing can take anything from 30 minutes for a single implant, to several hours for more complex placements such as bone grafting and multiple implant placements. Patients are often surprised at how little discomfort they experience during and after implant procedures.