A Dental Implant is a titanium metal rod which is placed into the jawbone. It is used to support one or more false teeth. In practice, both the false teeth and their supporting rod are known as ‘implants’. Dental Implants are a well-established, tried-and-tested treatment. 90 percent of modern implants last for at least 15 years.
Even if you have your some of your own teeth you can have any number of teeth replaced with dental implants – from one single tooth to a complete set. The number of implants you can have depends on the state of the bone in your jaw.
There are a number of tests an implant dentist can carry out to allow him/her to assess the amount of bone present. A bone graft may be necessary if there is not enough bone present or the quality of the remain bone is poor.
Placing the implants requires a small operation. This can be carried out under local anaesthetic with sedation or with a general anaesthetic. You will not feel any pain at the time, but you may feel some discomfort during the week following the surgery. This is usually due to having stitches in place, and the normal healing process.
During the healing phase a complete or partial denture can be used. Alternatively a temporary crown or bridge may be used over the healing titanium implants. Healing time varies for the upper and lower jaw but generally is 6 months for the upper jaw and up to 3 months in the lower jaw. You must wait before the dental implants are restored and they must not be restored straight away.
Once the surgery is done to place the dental implants the dentist can give a more accurate indication of the amount of time it will take for the implants to integrate. If the process is complex then it may take up to 12 months to finish but sometimes it can be completed in as few as 5 months to attach the final false teeth or dentures.