Dental implants are metal posts which may be inserted into
the jawbone and used to support a crown or bridge or denture
to replace missing teeth.
Implant treatment requires precise planning to ensure that
the implant is in the correct position and the crown,
bridge or denture is of the correct design to produce
a stable replacement for the missing teeth. Xrays and
measurements must be taken to ensure that there is sufficient
strong bone to support the implant. The procedure involves
drilling a hole into the jawbone into which the implant
is placed. As the jawbone heals it fuses with the implant.
Some months later the implant is exposed and an attachment
is placed onto the implant which carries the crown or
bridge or denture. The crown or bridge is usually permanently
attached to the implant by screwing or cementing onto
the attachment whilst a denture is clipped onto the implants
and can be removed for cleaning.
An implant should last a lifetime if it becomes fused to
the surrounding bone. The crown, bridge or denture, which
the implant carries will require replacement in the usual
way after 10 or more years.
As with any area of dentistry implant treatment can be
unsuccessful. Sometimes the implant loosens because it
has not fused with the bone. This may be because of an
infection surrounding the implant or because there was
insufficient good quality bone to secure the implant.
A major risk factor in implant failure
is smoking, and every effort should be made to stop smoking
The crown, bridge or denture must be carefully designed
to minimize the stresses placed on the implants and if
poorly designed will cause the implants to become overloaded.
Implants may be placed in an incorrect position and become
overloaded which may also lead to failure.
The site at which the implant protrudes through the gum
into the mouth is susceptible to infection and must be
kept thoroughly clean to prevent this. The crown, bridge
or denture may loosen if not properly connected to the
Implants ought to be successful if properly planned and
executed and are an effective and aesthetic method of replacing
missing teeth, without involving or damaging the adjacent
teeth in order to support a bridge or denture.