A tooth or dental implant is a mini titanium screw that is inserted within the jaw bone and it replaces the tooth that has been lost. So essentially, it gives you a base foundation to build and place a tooth on top of it.
Dental implants come in a sterile packaging. Once you undo the packaging, you will see a small screw that is about 10mm in length and 4mm in diameter. It is indeed quite small. And this is gently placed into your bone where it is left for three months to heal and integrate into your bone. Once it is healed and firm, you can construct and place your new tooth on it.
The main advantage of having a dental implant is that you don’t have to damage your adjacent teeth which you would with a dental bridge. Here you can see a model. Conventionally, after a tooth has been lost, what we used to do is drill down the adjacent teeth into stumps. Then the dental lab would make a custom bridge for you and as you can see in the model of a three teeth bridge. The dental bridge would then be glued into its place. These worked very well. But on average, they last only about 10 years.
The key benefit of a dental implant is that you don’t destroy the neighbouring teeth. You carefully place a dental implant into the jaw bone. Then the implant is left to rest for up to three months to heal. Then we can start the construction of the new tooth. This is then screwed into the implant – this is known as an abutment in the dental World. Then the dental laboratory will make a custom tooth to fit for you. So essentially, you have not damaged your adjacent teeth and you have secured yourself a tooth just like the one you had lost earlier.