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What is a dental implant?

The gold standard of a tooth replacement is a dental implant. It is a titanium screw-like root replacement and is the best option to replace your missing tooth. It feels like a tooth, acts like a tooth but is not a tooth.

How long do implants last? 

With appropriate care, implants should last approximately 20 years.

How does it work?

There are several scenarios - below are the most common:

A. You are about to lose your tooth and you want an implant. We start by extracting the tooth and grafting the socket (more on bone grafting here) in order to preserve the volume of bone and maximize its density. It takes on average three months for the bone socket to mature in order to place the implant. Following the implant surgery, it takes another three months for the bone to grow solid around the implant. At this point, your implant is ready to be restored. This means we’re ready to make a tooth (crown) that will be screwed into the implant. It takes approximately six months from the moment of losing your natural tooth for you to chew again on that side. This has a 99% success rate.

B. You are about to lose your tooth and you don’t want to wait six months. If you have enough bone available to engage with the implant we may be able to do an immediate implant placement at the same time the tooth is extracted. The wait to restore the implant is slightly longer, approximately four to five months, but you combine two surgeries into one. There is a higher risk of the implant not integrating and failing which puts us back to step one: removing the implant and grafting the socket. This could be a waste of time and resources, but with a 90% success rate it may be worth considering.

C. You lost your tooth ages ago and you’re ready to do something. It is likely that the remaining bone has shrunk over time so it will take more advanced bone grafting (link to bone grafting) to complete the process. It could take the bone socket anywhere from six to nine months to mature before placing implants.

Can I work after the surgery? 

Yes, you may return to work the next day. I would not recommend any heavy exertion for 2-3 days. We are often asked about exercise. It is best to avoid strenuous exercise for a week. Initially it is best to keep to lighter activities.

Is it painful? 

No, thanks to excellent local anaesthetics and fantastic pain killers. 

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