Dental implants are titanium alloy anchors (usually Grade 4 or 5 titanium) which are surgically implanted into the jawbones so as to hold artificial teeth or dentures in fixed positions in the mouth. Increasingly popular as replacements for missing teeth, they are one of the ways of doing so, besides the use of dentures or bridges.
Implants are commonly done in stages, the first procedure being the creation of small cylindrical holes in the jawbone to place the implants into; after which a healing period of a few months is usually necessary to allow the bone to heal around the implants and rigidly bond with the implants. Once successful integration of implant to bone is achieved, the second procedure is a minor one, to uncover the implants and allow for attachment of posts. After the posts are in place, artificial teeth are made in the form of fixed crowns or bridges, or removable dentures, which are securely fixed onto the implants.
During the implant treatment, which can last for a few months, you may have temporary teeth in the form of removable appliances to wear.
Depending on your bone condition, it may be necessary to have additional bone grafting procedures done in order to place implants securely into your jawbone. This is commonly due to the natural resorption of bone which occurs after a tooth is removed/ lost, rendering the subsequent width of bone to be inadequate to hold an implant; or the presence of the maxillary sinus cavity in the upper jawbone, which limits the vertical depth of bone necessary to hold an implant.
Bone grafting procedures may have to be done even before implant surgery and may increase total treatment time by a few months.