Dental Implant Overview
The patient had congenitally missing upper lateral incisors.
The patient had congenitally missing upper lateral incisors.
Two implants were placed and left to heal for three months
Two implants were placed and left to heal for three months
Two ceramo-metal crowns were placed on the implants. Excellent aesthetic and functional result
Two ceramo-metal crowns were placed on the implants. Excellent aesthetic and functional result

Treatment with dental implants involves a team, whose key members are:

Restorative dentist
Dental technician

Like a three-legged stool, each member is required for overall success.


Implant treatment takes place in a number of stages over a number of months. Before the actual treatment starts, a treatment plan must be developed. This will normally involve a clinical examination of the mouth, obtaining x-rays and photographs, and preparing plaster models. Sometimes a special type of x-ray examination, a CT scan, will be required. Your treating clinician will refer you for the necessary x-ray examination.

First stage:  Implant placement

The first stage consists of placing the implants in the bone (see Diagram 1 and 2). For a single implant, or a small number of implants, treatment is commonly carried out under a local anaesthetic (injection in the mouth). For multiple implants, treatment may be carried out under general anaesthesia (fully asleep), usually as day surgery. Following placement of each implant a protective cap called a healing abutment is connected to the top of the implant. Sometimes an implant can be placed at the same time that a tooth is removed, when the implant will be replacing that same tooth. After the implant is placed there is a waiting period of about 12 weeks before the crown or bridge can be made.

Second stage: Restorative treatment

This part of treatment involves construction of the final crown, bridge, or implant-retained denture (see Diagram 4). This part of the treatment can start about 12 weeks after implant placement, and depending upon the complexity of treatment may take between a few weeks or in some cases months.

Success rate of dental implants

Dental implant treatment has a very high success rate compared to other forms of dental treatment, and for many patients can be expected to provide a life long solution to the problem of missing teeth. A number of factors influence whether implants can be placed, and whether they will be successful in the long term. These factors include:

  • The health of the jawbone and its capacity to heal well, the bone density and the general health of the mouth.
  • The number of implants and the type of prosthesis.
  • Whether the implants are wanted in the upper jaw or lower jaw.
  • The general health of the patient.
  • Current medications taken by the patient


As with anything else, the new restorations require maintenance. Unfortunately today we do not have materials and/or technologies available that would ensure a lifetime service of the restorations. However with proper maintenance the longevity of the restorations can be greatly improved.

The maintenance consists of proper home care and regular visits to our office for check ups, which could include taking x-rays, professional cleaning and any necessary repairs. If the checkup appointments are made at the proper intervals as advised by us, any sign of a problem will be picked up at the earlier stages, making necessary repairs easier and more cost effective. Most times the earlier stages of a developing problem go unnoticed by the patient and can only be found by your dentist. Therefore having no subjective or obvious problems is not a reason for not attending your maintenance appointments.

Possible complications

Implant failure

There are virtually no recorded instances of allergy to titanium metal, so the possibility of the implant being ''rejected'' does not arise. However, occasionally the bond between the bone and the implant, necessary for the success of the implant, does not occur. This involves about 2 - 3% of all implants and the reason is not fully understood. Discovery of such failure is usually when the implant undergoes routine testing during the first 12 weeks after placement. The implant will then often be immediately replaced with a larger diameter implant, or with a similar implant after a period of healing. This second implant has then the same high probability of successful integration as the original. Replacement of a failed implant does add extra time, but not cost, to the treatment process.

Dental implants have a high success rate, which has been scientifically documented for over 40 years.