A dental implant is a metal anchor, which acts as a substitute to a natural tooth root. It is surgically placed into the jawbone and small posts (abutments) are then attached to the implants which protrude through the gums. These abutments provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
For most patients, the placement of a dental implant involves two surgical procedures.
Firstly, the implant is placed within your jawbone by the dentist. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear a temporary denture or bridge and eat a soft diet during this time.
Once the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. The dentist will uncover the implant and attach a small healing collar to shape the gums correctly. An impression is taken, from which the laboratory can fabricate a closely-fitting post. The post is then connected to the implant. Finally, a tooth replacement is made and fitted over the post.
The entire procedure usually takes about six months. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life.