Maxillo-Facial Surgeon

Dental Implants

Dental Implants               implant tooth diagram

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are titanium screws with a special coated surface. Implants come in various lengths and diameters. Dental implants are substitutes for the roots of missing teeth. They are designed to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are placed into the jaw bone. The jaw bone then fuses to the surface of the implant. This process of fusion is known as osseointegration.
Replacement of missing teeth with dental implants has been used for more than 40 years and is well recognized as an effective and predictable treatment choice. Implant treatment is considered more predictable than bridgework, resin bonded bridges and endodontic (root canal) treatment.

Dental Implants

Why should missing teeth be replaced with implants?

First of all it is very important to understand what happens when a tooth is lost and is not replaced with a dental implant. When a tooth is extracted or removed, not only do you lose chewing ability, but unreplaced teeth can cause other teeth to be lost, tipped or crowded and create subsequent problems.
When one or more teeth are lost, the jawbone will undergo resorption. This means that the bone in the mouth will disappear. This process usually begins four to six months after the tooth is removed. This process gives the appearance of a collapsing facial structure. The sooner implants are placed, the less bone you will lose, and a far better aesthetic result will be achieved.
Replacing missing teeth is important to your general health and to the health of your other teeth. There are the obvious problems of poor appearance, loss of self-esteem and inability to function or articulate clearly.

teeth in jaw bonetooth loss

Implants and dentures
Removable dentures rest on the gum. Over time the underlying bone disappears and the dentures become loose and move around in the mouth. This leads to loss of facial structure and appearance. Patients find it very difficult to chew or function normally. Dental implants can be placed into the bone to form permanent replacements for removable dentures. Dental implants can also be provide fixed anchorage for removable dentures.


Am I a candidate for implants?
Patients who require implants are often of all ages. Implants are the right choice for anyone missing one or more teeth. They are especially practical for patients who can no longer wear removable dentures. Your maxillofacial and oral surgeon can determine if you are a suitable candidate for dental implants after a careful evaluation of your dental and medical history.

What does implant surgery involve?

Implants are usually inserted under local anaesthesia (ie an injection to make the area numb).  Once the local anaesthetic injection has worked the gum is cut and pushed back to expose the underlying bone.  A hole is then drilled into the bone and the implant is then placed screwed into the bone. The gum is then put back in the right place with stitches.  These stitches are usually dissolvable.

How long will the operation take?

It usually takes around half an hour to place a single implant.  Obviously if you are having more than one implant placed it will take longer.

What can I expect after the operation?

It is unlikely to be very painful after implant surgery but regular painkillers will be arranged for you.  There is often very little or no swelling.

When can I have teeth made on to the implant’s?

Your maxillofacial and oral surgeon will advise you when you can have the teeth fitted to the implant’s. In some instances a tooth can be made immediately on to the implant. This is a huge advantage for patients who are missing teeth in the front of their mouth’s. Often the tooth is extracted and an implant is placed immediately into the socket. The tightness of the implant in the bone is measured and if it’s suitable a tooth can be made immediately onto the implant. This means that you don’t walk around with a missing tooth.

Radiograph - implant replacing tooth

Radiograph - implant replacing tooth

Final tooth - attached to implant
Final tooth – attached to implant

Teeth missing

Teeth missing

Missing teeth replaced

Missing teeth replaced with implants

Maxillo-Facial Surgeon