A dental implant is an artificial (metal) tooth root that is placed in the jawbone to replace a missing natural tooth. A crown is then placed over the implant to form a structure that closely resembles the look and function of a natural tooth. Like real teeth, artificial teeth that aren't regularly cleaned can accumulate bacteria which can lead to dental problems such as bleeding gums, loss of bone around the implant and even infection and pain. If properly maintained and anchored by sufficient bone, the implant can be expected to last many years, although repairs may be required.
An implant cannot be guaranteed to be successful for life, with about 1 in every 20 implants that fail to integrate with the jawbone or becoming loose over time.
Important factors to the overall success include:
We work closely with a specialist periodontist to ensure that your implant is properly planned and prepared for, and is placed with accuracy and care.
An implant is generally placed in an area of sufficient bone quantity and density. Should this not be the case, the bone quantity can be improved with preparatory bone augmentation procedures to allow for a more reliable foundation for implant placement. When the implant is placed, it is left to integrate with the bone for a period of 3-6 months. Once sufficient integration is achieved, a healing cap is placed over the implant to prepare it for the restoration that will go over the implant permanently. This part of the procedure usually takes anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months.
There are three main uses for implants:
Dental implant surgery, as with all types of surgical procedures, carries some degree of risk. The following are listed to inform, not to alarm. The specific risk varies from patient to patient and also depends on the expertise of the practitioner carrying out the procedure. The specialist periodontist will discuss your individual risks prior to implant placement.
General surgical risks include: Allergic reactions to the anaesthetic, infection of the wound that may require antibiotics and (very rarely) excessive bleeding.
Specific risks of implant surgery include: Affected / infected sinuses which may require antibiotics, damaged nerve (in most cases resulting in temporary numbness) or inhaling / swallowing equipment or parts that may require surgery to remove.
Specific risks of implant treatment include: Short term speech difficulty, gum tissue overgrowth, local / systemic infection which may require antibiotics, or bone loss with resultant loosening implant.