What is a dental implant?

A Dental Implant is an artificial tooth root that is used to support one or more false teeth in a very secure and lasting way. If your ability to chew, speak or smile with confidence has been affected by the loss of one or more teeth, through injury or decay, then an implant is a highly successful solution.

The implant then has a crown, bridge or even a full denture placed on top of it. It will look and feel just like a natural tooth.

Typical treatment length

4 to 6 months following referral to a specialist.

What is the process?

Consultation

Your clinician will discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of having an implant, as well as the costs of the treatment and the options available to you.

Advantages

  • Implants are known to be very safe
  • If you look after your implants properly and maintain good oral hygiene, they should last for the rest of your life
  • You can have a number of teeth replaced with implants
  • Once healed they will look just like, and be as strong as, your natural teeth
  • They don’t rely on or damage neighbouring teeth
  • Can support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture

Disadvantages

  • To be suitable you must have healthy bone and gums
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol can affect the outcome
  • There are no lifetime guarantees
  • If not looked after they can develop a coating, like natural teeth, and if left untreated this can lead to gum infection, bleeding and soreness
  • They cost more than traditional bridgework or dentures
  • You may have to wear a temporary cap on the implant until it has healed

Treatment

Dental implant treatment is effectively in 2 stages:

Implant placement

Dental implants are placed into the bone in a relatively pain-free procedure. The bone and gums will be given time to heal before a crown (or denture) are attached. In most cases, you can receive a temporary crown the same day the implant is placed but your clinician may decide to let the gum heal fully before fitting a crown.

Crown placement

Once the implant has fused with your jawbone, your final crown (or denture) will be placed to restore your natural smile.

Aftercare

Your dental team will give you instructions on how to look after your implant. They may give you some painkillers to take over the next few days if you need them. You will need further appointments to fit your new teeth to the substitute tooth root.