A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw where a tooth is missing. Implants can either be placed for a single tooth or for several missing teeth. Once an implant is in place a crown is fitted to the top. Every implant needs a crown to provide a complete tooth replacement.
One alternative to implants is dentures but most people find implants far easier to maintain, as they can be cared for in the same way as natural teeth. Another dental implant alternative is a dental bridge, which relies on surrounding teeth for support. Dental bridges provide aesthetically pleasing results but leave supporting teeth vulnerable once they have been reduced in size to fit the bridge.
Dental implants look and behave in a similar way to natural teeth and are a safe, recognised treatment. Dental implants are a particularly robust solution because, over time, the metal implant fuses with your jaw bone. When fitted to healthy bone and well looked after, dental implants can last for many years, but they do not carry a lifetime guarantee.
Your dental implant surgery takes place in stages. Your damaged tooth will be removed, and the site prepared for surgery, in some cases this may involve bone grafting. Once the site has healed, an implant can be placed. A temporary crown may be required if the site is in your smile. Implant surgery requires 3-4 t months to heal before a crown can be fitted to complete the restoration.