The need to replace a missing tooth could be the result of an accident, dental disease or because there was no formation of an adult tooth (congenital absence).
A titanium dental implant is painlessly inserted into the jawbone. The operation can be carried out under local anaesthetic, with or without sedation. You can also choose to have a general anaesthetic in hospital.
No healthy teeth are affected or damaged. With other replacement solutions, adjacent teeth might need to be ground down to support a bridge.
The gum above the implant is opened so that an abutment or post can be fitted into the implant itself. This post projects through the gum and makes a link between the implant and your new teeth (prosthesis).
This procedure requires a local anaesthetic and again, is quite painless. It is usual to allow a period of about two weeks for healing and the surgical part of the procedure is complete.
Often it is possible for the abutment to be connected at the same time the implant is placed, thus negating the need for this second minor surgical procedure.
A crown is then placed on the abutment, fitting perfectly at the edge of the gum.
The new tooth is now complete and it is virtually impossible to see the difference between the existing teeth and the new tooth. However occasional differences do occur in the contour of the gum.
Surgery time is dependent on how many dental implants are being inserted and whether any bone grafting is required. A small amount of pain and swelling is normal in the first week after surgery. After a week the stitches are removed and the gum returns to normal within a day or two.