Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are inserted into the jawbone to replace missing natural teeth. Implants and their attached crowns closely mimic the look and function of real teeth. They can make an attractive alternative to dentures and bridges.
Dental implant techniques can replace one or several missing teeth. In some cases, an entire set of articifical teeth can be carried on dental implants.
Different types of implants are available. Most implants are made from materials such as titanium that are capable of forming a strong integration with the surrounding bone tissue.
In most cases, the procedure involves three separate treatment stages:
The process can take considerable time, perhaps from three to six months or more from surgical placement of the implant to the fitting of the crown.
This depends on factors such as your general and dental health, the amount of bone, rate of healing, degree of integration between implant and the bone, and the extent of any other dental problems.
In some cases, the dentist may insert the implant and affix both the abutment and an artificial tooth during a single operation. However, not every patient is suitable for, and not all dentists offer, this single-stage procedure.
The insertion of the implant can be performed at the dentist’s clinic, at a day-surgery centre, or in hospital. The dentist will advise which setting is the most appropriate for you.
Depending on the complexity of the patient’s case, the procedure can take from 30 minutes to several hours.
*(excerpt from ADA Dental Implant pamphlet)