WHAT IS A DENTAL IMPLANT?
It is a threaded screw made of Titanium which is placed in the jaw. An implant is the most natural way to replace a missing tooth. It can be used to support a crown, a bridge or to stabilise a denture.
HOW IS IT DONE?
The procedure is done in two stages (when circumstances permit it can be done in one stage):
Stage 1 involves placement of the implant in the jaw. Then there is a waiting period while the implant integrates with the jawbone. This is called osseointegration. This process takes on average 4 – 6 months. When it is complete, the implant is ready to be used.
In stage 2 an impression is taken of the implant head and the laboratory uses this to make the crown, bridge or denture which will be retained or stabilised by the implant.
IS IT A BIG DEAL?
A single implant can be done under local anaesthetic. Multiple placements can be done using sedation, however many patients prefer just to have local anaesthetic.
HOW LONG DO THEY LAST?
Implants placed under ideal conditions and that are properly restored and maintained have a high chance of surviving in the mouth over a period of 20 years.
ARE IMPLANTS SUITABLE FOR EVERYONE?
There are some people who are not suitable - heavy smokers, patients with poorly controlled diabetes, patients on some medications for osteoporosis or those with a long term major illness.
Barring these, if you are fit and well and have sufficient jawbone, you are suitable for implants.
Age alone is not a contra - indication for implants.