How do dental implants work?

Implant treatment comprises 2 phases, the surgical phase and the restorative phase. The first part (surgical phase) involves placing the implant (metal root) into your jaw bone. The surgery is normally carried out under local anaesthetic and is painless due to the very effective local anaesthetics now used. The implant is then given time to bond to your bone which can take from 3 to 6 months. During the time an implant is bonding to your bone a temporary crown, denture or bridge can be used. At the end of this period the implant is exposed by another, small surgical procedure under local anaesthetic to allow the second phase of treatment to be carried out.

The second (restorative) phase involves taking an impression of the implant which is used to create your replacement tooth. The restorative procedure and treatment time will depend on whether you are having a crown, bridge or denture retained by implant. For a single implant supported crown the total treatment time is normally 8 months to one year and involves 5 to 7 appointments.