An implant is an artificial replacement for a natural tooth root when the tooth and its root are missing. The implant itself is a small but strong post made of biocompatible material, which is surgically inserted into the jawbone. This is then finished off with a restoration, for example a crown or a denture, to replace the visible tooth.
Usually, but it depends on the condition of your jawbone. We will assess the quality and quantity of your bone using digital x-rays and images. If the bone is unsuitable, it may be possible to graft bone into the area to enable treatment.
Placing an implant is usually a simple procedure for skilled dentists. A local anaesthetic will numb the area so you should not feel any pain. Post-surgery you may have some residual pain and a little discomfort and swelling, but this can be treated at home with over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol.
Dental implants are a very well-established treatment, supported by over 30 years of clinical evidence. You may have heard of peri-implantitis, which is an infection in the gum surrounding the implant site, but this can be avoided by a good dental hygiene regimen and follow-ups with a hygienist experienced in treating implant patients.
As mentioned above, the life of the implant will be largely determined by the quality of at-home care and follow-up at regular clinical reviews. Well-maintained implants can be expected to last many years and often a whole lifetime.
Implants are generally not placed for children until their late teens, when their jaw will have finished developing. There is, however, no upper age limit for dental implants and they are successfully used by many older patients as an anchor for dentures.
”"I'm so glad I chose to replace my missing tooth with an implant, the procedure was so quick and it didn't hurt at all. The team were very professional and sometimes I forget I even have an implant!"