is one of several options to replace a missing tooth.
It is a restorative procedure that attaches an artificial
tooth to an anchor that is surgically placed in the jawbone.
In most instances, implants feel
more natural and secure than other options to replace missing teeth.
The most common type of implant
is the root-form. It is
made of titanium and looks like a small screw.
Titanium is a material that the jawbone accepts as part of the
After an implant is placed in the
jawbone, it is allowed to heal to become integrated with the bone ( a
process called osseointegration).
This process is the key to the success of an implant.
When the area has healed (
usually several months), a metal collar called an abutment is attached
to the implant. A crown,
which closely replicates the colour and shape of the natural tooth, is
made to attach to the abutment.
Benefits of Implants
While the initial cost for an
implant can be more than a denture or bridge ( an implant plus a crown
can cost between $3000 and $4000), there are many benefits:
increased confidence comes with having a beautiful,
dentures, which loosen over time, implants are fixed and function
like natural teeth, allowing you to speak and
eat without worry
- with proper care,
an implant can last for many years or even
a lifetime, providing a long-term solution for your dental
- since implants
don’t involve adjacent teeth for support, the
teeth are unaffected
Are You An Implant
In order to determine if you are
a candidate for an implant, your first step is to make an appointment
with your dentist for an evaluation.
The initial appointment will
include a thorough examination (including xrays) of your mouth and
teeth, as well as a thorough review of your medical and dental
A good candidate should have the
Enough bone to anchor the implant in the
A commitment to taking care of
implanted teeth and surrounding gums
At the end of your examination
appointment, your dentist will discuss your options with you and
thoroughly explain the procedure, cost and possible complications.
If your case is complicated, you may be referred to a
specialist for preliminary work (such as
and the placement of the implant.
After healing, you would then return to your dentist to have
the crown placed.
Detailed Information on Implant Placement
First Surgery Appointment
At your first implant appointment, you
will be given antibiotics and pain medication.
Antibiotics reduce the chance of any infection developing in the surgical
site and impeding healing. Pain
medication taken prior to surgery will help reduce any discomfort you may feel
afterwards. Your dentist will use
local anaesthetic to numb the area where the implant will be placed.
If you are feeling any anxiety about the procedure, you can arrange in
advance for the dentist to prescribe medication to relax you.
To place the implant, the dentist will
first make an incision into your gums to expose the bone.
She will then drill a hole into the bone and place the implant into the
hole. She will take an xray of the
area to ensure the implant is in the correct position, and will then stitch your
gum closed over the implant.
The placement of a single implant
generally takes about one hour. The
time increases if more than one implant is being placed or if bone grafting
is being done at the same time. You can expect to some mild to moderate
discomfort after the procedure.
If the implant is an anterior one ( in
the front of your mouth), the dentist will have a temporary denture or bridge
ready to be placed, so you do not have to be without a tooth.
After the surgery, the dentist will give
you antibiotics and pain medication, as well as instructions to follow:
Don’t spit, suck on straws or smoke.
Any of these can dislodge blood
clots and slow healing
Eat only soft foods
Don’t clean the implant area for 1-2 weeks, but clean
the rest of your mouth normally
You will return to the dentist a week to
ten days after surgery to have your stitches out.
It will take several months for the bone
to bond with the implant (osseointegration).
Second Surgery Appointment
The dentist, after giving you local
anaesthetic, will make a small incision in the gum to expose the implant.
She will place a metal collar ( abutment) on the implant. This will sit
above your gums in the area where the tooth would be.
It maintains the space so that your gums heal correctly around the
Generally, you will see your dentist two
to three weeks after the second surgery to start the process of having the crown