A dental implant is an artificial root which is gently inserted into the jaw bone. After a period of 3 months, your bone cells fuse to the surface of the implant thus allowing them to support a restoration such as a bridge or crown. In patients with loose dentures, dental implants can also be used to stabilise them.
Once the implant has fused to the bone, a post is then screwed into the implant. A crown can then be cemented to the post. For larger gaps, multiple implants may be required.
The greatest advantage of dental implants is that do not affect the teeth next to them and research over 30 years consistently shows restorations supported by implants are the longest lasting, especially when compared to dentures or bridgework. Multiple research papers show success rates of 95-99%.
Although it may be possible to provide implant supported teeth in a day, treatment involving implants usually takes longer than the other options and involves several stages. It may, therefore, be necessary to fill the gap with a temporary restoration such as a temporary denture or bridge while the implant is healing to the bone. Some minor oral surgery is also required which inevitably leads to some swelling, bruising and discomfort for the few days after surgery; recovery, however, is usually very quick.
If there is an insufficient bone to place an implant, we can usually bulk out the bone volume when we place the implant using a technique called Guided bone regeneration. If there is a large amount of bone missing, the missing bone may need to be generated with a block bone graft. This would delay implant placement by another 3-4 months.
Treatment can be arranged under sedation if requested. For more information on implants click here.