It is a screw made from titanium, and is screwed into your jawbone during a small surgical procedure under local anaesthetic. This surgical procedure is very atraumatic, and is usually less painful afterwards than having a tooth extracted. After a healing period ranging between 3 and 6 months, a crown is placed on top of this artificial root, in order to replace the missing tooth.
During this healing period the missing tooth is replaced by a removable partial denture or temporary bridge, so that you will never have to be without a tooth at any time. In certain cases a temporary crown can be fixed onto the implant immediately after placement of the implant.
Dental implants have a number of advantages over more conventional methods of replacing missing teeth.
- An implant-supported crown is very similar to your natural tooth because it is fixed permanently, and does not need your other teeth or soft tissues for support: NO MORE REMOVABLE DENTURE and NO DAMAGE TO THE ADJACENT TEETH.
- Dental implants preserve the bone of the jaw that would normally have resorbed after tooth extraction.
- Implants can’t get decayed, so no more fillings.
- In the very rare event of an implant not integrating with the bone of your jaw, it will be replaced free of charge by the manufacturer.
The only disadvantage of dental implants is that it involves a small surgical procedure. However this is a very minor procedure, and you can go back to work the next day. There is usually a little discomfort, but very little pain afterwards.
The success of dental implants depends on the amount of bone available to place them into. It is therefore important to have your implant placed as soon as possible after extraction, before loss of bone occurs.
In conclusion: after having treated numerous patients with dental implants, not a single one has said they were sorry that they ever had it done, while most of them said that the success of the treatment was worth the time and money spent on the procedure.