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Telephone: 01274 581550

How do dental implants work?

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a prosthetic replacement for a missing tooth. It is designed to function and look like a natural tooth, providing a long-term solution to replace a lost tooth or multiple teeth. Unlike other dental restorations such as dentures or bridges, which rely on adjacent teeth for support, dental implants are anchored directly into the jawbone.

The dental implant itself consists of three main components: the implant fixture, the abutment, and the crown. The implant fixture is a small titanium post that is surgically placed into the jawbone. Titanium is commonly used because it has the ability to fuse with the bone in a process called osseointegration. This allows the implant to become a stable and permanent part of the jawbone.

The abutment is connected to the implant fixture and serves as a connector between the implant and the crown. It protrudes above the gum line and provides support for the crown.

The crown is custom-made to match your natural teeth in shape, size , and colour. It is attached to the abutment and is the visible part of the dental implant that resembles a natural tooth.

Dental Implants Procedure

The dental implant procedure typically consists of several steps. Firstly, your dentist will conduct a thorough examination of your oral health, including X-rays and 3D imaging to assess the condition of your jawbone and determine if you are a suitable candidate for implants.

After determining that you are a suitable candidate for dental implants, your dentist will begin the surgical process. This involves making an incision in your gum to expose the jawbone where the implant will be placed. The implant fixture is then carefully inserted into the jawbone and secured in place. Over time, the titanium post will fuse with the surrounding bone, creating a strong and stable foundation for the implant.

Once the implant has fully integrated with the jawbone, which typically takes several months, the abutment can be attached. This involves reopening the gum and placing the abutment onto the implant fixture. The gum is then stitched back up and allowed to heal.

After the gum has healed, impressions of your teeth are taken to create a custom-made crown that will fit perfectly onto the abutment. This process may require multiple visits to the dentist to ensure proper fit and alignment. Once the crown is ready, it is attached to the abutment using dental cement or screws.

How Long Does a Dental Implant Procedure Take?

The duration of a dental implant procedure can vary depending on several factors, including the patient’s oral health, the number of implants required, and any necessary preparatory treatments. On average, the entire process can take anywhere from several months to over a year. You would need a consultation to discuss this further as every case is different.


Aftercare for dental implants is crucial to ensure proper healing and long-term success of the implant. While dental implants are designed to be a permanent solution to replace missing teeth, they require diligent care and maintenance to prevent complications.

Here are some important aftercare guidelines for dental implants:

1. Oral hygiene routine: It is essential to maintain good oral hygiene after getting dental implants. Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Use a gentle circular motion to clean all sides of the implant, as well as the surrounding gums and teeth.

2. Flossing: Regular flossing is important to remove any food particles or plaque that may accumulate around the implant. Use a floss threader or interdental brushes specifically designed for implants to clean between the teeth and implant.

3. Regular dental visits: Schedule regular check-ups with your dentist to monitor the health of your implants and overall oral health. Your dentist will also perform professional cleanings to remove any calcified deposits that may have formed around the implant.

4. Avoid hard and sticky foods: To prevent any damage to the implant or crown, avoid chewing on hard or sticky foods that may put excessive pressure on the implant.

5. Quit smoking: Smoking can have detrimental effects on dental implants as it restricts blood flow and impairs healing. It is best to quit smoking before getting dental implants and avoid smoking during the healing process.

6. Avoid teeth grinding: If you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, it is important to address this issue as it can put undue stress on the implant and lead to complications. Your dentist may recommend wearing a nightguard to protect your dental implants while you sleep.

By following these aftercare guidelines and maintaining regular dental visits, you can ensure the long-term success of your dental implants. It is important to note that individual experiences may vary, and it is best to consult with your dentist for personalized aftercare instructions based on your specific case.

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