An implant is an artificial root of titanium or zirconium, which is placed in the jaw. The implant is a strong base for a crown, bridge, or dentures.
If a tooth or molar is missing, an implant can replace it. An (implant) crown can then be placed on top of it.
If several teeth or molars are missing, a bridge can also be placed on the implant or the implant can serve as anchoring for a partial denture (frame or plate).
An implant also serves as a retainer in the jaw for those who need or have dentures. This keeps it in place better. A complete denture (prosthesis) is then made and clicked onto the implants: the so-called click dentures.
Where there is too little bone, new bone can usually be placed with an extra treatment. This can be artificial bone or your own bone (e.g. from the hip by the oral surgeon). After 6 to 12 months the implants can be placed.
During the treatment, the implant is placed in the jawbone under local anaesthesia. In the following 2 to 6 months, the jawbone attaches itself to the implant. After that a crown, bridge or dentures can be made.
The treatment can be done in one or two phases. This depends on the condition of the bone. In one stage (bone in good condition) the implant is placed and the cap (healing abutment) is visible above the gums. In two stages, the implant is placed and the gums are put back over it. When the implant has grown in, a small incision is made in the gums to look for the implant and then the abutment is placed. After a few weeks the implant crown/bridge or click teeth can be placed on it.
The chances of success of an implant surgery are very high. Good research beforehand minimizes the chance of complications or failures. However, there may be temporary discomfort in the form of post-operative pain or swelling immediately after an implant has been placed. It also happens occasionally that an implant does not solidify and has to be removed. This is more likely to happen with smokers.