Dental Implants are an excellent option for replacing teeth that have either already been lost, or that need to be removed due to fracture or disease. The procedure involves the implant being surgically placed into the bone where the tooth used to be, and then some healing time is allowed for the bone to integrate around the new implant. This can take 2-6 months depending on the clinical circumstances. Next, an abutment is fitted to the implant, and lastly a crown is fitted to the abutment, thus completeing the process.
During the implant treatment, some additional procedures may be required such as soft tissue or bone grafting. Bone resorbtion is a natural occurence after teeth are lost, but sometimes it can be quite pronounced. These grafting procedures are indicated when the bone volume in the implant area is not ideal due to the past disease condition, or due to the time that has passed since the tooth was lost. Grafting may be needed to make the implant process possible, or it may be indicated more to enhance the final aesthetic result. Grafting is also sometimes used to improve the healing response now, as well as in the longer term maintenance of the implant.
Dental Implants are a safe and effective way to return a patient's teeth and they should not impact on the health or strength of the adjacent teeth.
These images show the implant in its parts. There is the implant itself (under the gum), the crown which sits on top (above the gum level) and the restorative abutment - which joins the crown to the implant
Broadly speaking, there are two types of abutments. The Healing Abutment (silver colour) allows the gum to heal and take shape around the implant after initial surgery, whilst the Restorative Abutment (white colour) holds the shape of the gum, and allows the final crown to connect
This photo shows a Restorative Abutment and its Crown, just before they were fitted to the implant. This abutment is white, and was made from Zirconia