Dental Implants

Dental implants have greatly changed the practice of dentistry in the past three decades. Increased knowledge and new techniques within the field of implant dentistry have enormously evolved the efficacy and predictability of treatment with root formed dental implants. The overall success rate of the modern dental implant systems, used in rehabilitation of partially or total edentulism, is reported to be almost 99% today, regardless of type or location.

Images and multimedia content: © Institut Straumann AG, 2015. All rights reserved. By courtesy of Institut Straumann AG

What is a Dental Implant?

An artificial root that works like a natural one

When a tooth and its root are missing, the long-term solution for a natural function is a dental implant and made-to-match crown.

About dental implants

A dental implant is a small but strong post made from biocompatible metals or ceramics. Under local anaesthetic, it is inserted into the jaw bone in place of the missing tooth root and acts as a support for the tooth.

The healing phase is between 6 and 12 weeks depending on the individual medical situation. During this period the implant becomes securely attached to the jaw bone – a process called osseointegration. Once healed, this artificial root acts as a base for fixing individual crowns, multi-tooth bridges, or an entire dental prosthesis.

A Root replacement for missing tooth

A dental implant is effectively a replacement root made of titanium or titanium zirconium. The materials are extremely strong, non-toxic and biocompatible so that your body will accept them.

1) natural tooth,

2) dental implant,

3) tooth crownContent goes here

1) natural tooth, 2) dental implant, 3) tooth crown

Over a period of time, the bone attaches itself to the surface of the implant, which then becomes a part of your body.

The picture below is showing a dental implant on a scale of 1:1, compared to a match.

1) natural tooth, 2) dental implant, 3) tooth crown


What are the Advantages of Dental Implants?

Implants are reliable, giving a long-term solution to missing teeth.
Implants are non-invasive, eliminating the need for drilling of the adjacent teeth, as would be the case for bridge work.
Implants are preservative, supporting the bone tissue as the root of natural teeth would do, preventing further bone loss and helping to maintain facial shape.
Implants are functional, as they are the closest imitation of the natural teeth.
Implants are aesthetic and look natural standing in harmony with the surrounding soft tissue and adjacent teeth.
Implants are comfortable, offering more stability than conventional dentures.
Implants are appealing, enhancing the quality of life and giving you the confidence to talk, eat and smile.

What are the Main Steps of Dental Implant Treatment?

Step 1: Preoperative Assessment
The treating dentist assesses your individual needs and possible treatments using x-ray images and plaster models.

Sometimes a three-dimensional computer tomography is necessary to evaluate the quality and quantity of the bone tissue. Three-dimensional images also help to identify any anatomical structures that eventually are at risk of damage during the implantation.

For an implant to be stable in your jaw, the presence of an adequate volume of bone tissue is essential. As such, you might need to undergo a bone augmentation prior to placement of the implant if the examination indicates insufficient bone substance.

The treatment options vary from person to person. These may include bridges, crowns, dentures or no treatment at all. We will discuss the options with you and explain the advantages and disadvantages of the various options so that you can make an informed on every aspect of the procedure before making a decision.

Step 2: Implantation
The implant will be placed under local anaesthesia, similar to that used for extractions and filling therapy.

The dentist carefully raises a small flap in the gum to expose the implant site then the implant will be gently inserted into the jaw bone. Thereafter, the gum is replaced and held together with some stitches, which will be removed about a week later.

Depending on indications and the type of implant, some of the implants will remain under the gum (submerged implants) and some of them will stick out of the gum. The submerged implant requires a second small surgery to expose them before they can be used.

In some of the cases, a temporary restoration may be placed on the implant during the healing stage. This allows you to enjoy a natural looking smile early on in the process.

Step 3: Healing
Depending on individual medical conditions, the healing period and attachment of the implant to the jaw bone can vary from six weeks to a few months.

After approximately one week, stitches are removed. Diligent oral hygiene is now vital for successful healing.

Step 4: Restorative Treatment
After completion of an uneventful healing phase, a series of appointments will be arranged to make your crown, bridge or denture. These replacements are made by specialised dental laboratories and involve impression and shade taking. In the anterior segment of your mouth, where an aesthetic outcome is desirable, the dentist might suggest you to allow a six month period wearing a temporary crown to reshape and sculpture your gum in order to create an aesthetic restoration in harmony with the rest of your smile and surrounded by healthy gum tissue.

Implant supported teeth, just like natural teeth, need daily cleaning and maintenance. Regular check-ups and preventative hygienist visits are necessary to keep your implants in a healthy state. Inadequate home care will result in probable failure.


After dental implants have been placed, they can be used in many ways:

Replacement of a Single Tooth
Rather than drilling healthy teeth for a bridge, an implant can be used to replace a missing tooth

Replacement of Several Teeth
They can also be used to replace multiple missing teeth with a bridge on implants. It is not necessary to use one implant for each missing tooth.

Replacement of all Teeth
They can securely fix loose dentures using ‘over dentures’ or replace a complete denture with fixed teeth.

Does Implant Treatment Hurt?
The surgery may be followed by some soreness, minor swelling or occasional bruising. The level of discomfort is variable but generally only requires pain killers and should only last for a few days.

How Long Does an Implant Last?
A small number of implants, in a very rare event, have to be removed shortly after the placement, due to failed integration. Generally, a well maintained and well-integrated implant is believed to last a lifetime. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and inadequate oral hygiene have the most influence on implant failure. The superstructure components like screws, crowns and other restorations need to be maintained and replaced during the lifetime.

Can Anyone Have an Implant?
There is no age limit for replacement of teeth by implants, given that you have healthy gums and an adequate volume of bone to support the implant, although techniques are available to augment bone tissue if necessary. Any presence of gum problems should be addressed and cleared prior to the placement of the implants and patients, generally, are expected to have a healthy lifestyle with respect to consumption of alcohol and tobacco. There are a few medical conditions, like uncontrolled diabetes or metabolic bone disorders, which indicate higher risk factors, otherwise, regardless of the age, anyone who can undergo a routine extraction can successfully receive implant supported tooth replacements.

How Do I Find Out More and Get Started?
Please contact the practice on 01273 582226 If any part of this leaflet is unclear and you require further information. You can also read the Association of Dental Implantology UK’s information leaflet. If you are a smoker, we strongly advise you to quit and remain a non-smoker in the long-term. This will significantly reduce the risk of some implant complications. You can contact the free NHS smoking helpline on 0800 022 4 322.

Images and multimedia content: © Institut Straumann AG, 2015. All rights reserved. By courtesy of Institut Straumann AG


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