An implant is a substitute for a natural tooth. It is made up of three parts:
The implant fixture - this is like a tooth root replacement
The abutment - joining piece between implant fixture and restoration
The restoration - crown, bridge or denture
How long does the process take?
The process for a single tooth implant usually takes three to four months as long as there is enough bone. If bone augmentation is necessary this can add considerably to the time.
Do you have to live with a gap during the process?
No, temporary teeth can be fitted so no one will know you have a missing tooth. If the implant is not in a noticeable place or you don't want to temporarily fill the gap, the titanium implant is not visible as it is usually below the gum line.
How long do implants last?
Well-maintained implants, like your natural teeth will last for many years with good home care and regular check-ups. They are as vulnerable to gum disease as your own teeth so attending regular hygiene appointments may be necessary.
Are implants always possible and suitable?
If you still have a viable tooth, it is preferable to save the natural tooth whenever possible. However, if the tooth cannot be saved, an implant can often offer a lasting fixed-in solution. We always like to look at the full range of options when replacing a missing tooth as no single approach is a panacea. For some people, a bridge, where a tooth is attached to adjacent teeth, can offer a better solution. Other people will find that accepting a gap or wearing a denture is better suited to their overall needs. It is always a question of finding the right solution for any individual by considering the advantages and disadvantages of each. Only then can we assess how these various options impact quality of life. If you want to see whether an implant is suitable for you, see a dentist.