An implant is a titanium screw that is the gold standard replacement for a missing tooth. It replaces a single tooth without destroying teeth either side (unlike a fixed-bridge). The screw is placed into the jawbone by an oral surgeon typically using intravenous sedation. Over a period of 4-6 months, the bone knits to the screw to hold it in place. Once the implant has "osseo-integrated" i.e. fused to the bone, an implant crown can be placed.
During the 4-6 month period of the bone knitting to the screw, there are two temporary options: have a space or have a temporary removable denture made. A temporary denture is an additional cost.
Patients with a history of diabetes, gum disease or are taking bisphosphonates are more at risk of the implants not integrating with the bone. Patients that smoke are strongly recommended to quit, otherwise it will significantly reduce the success of an implant. Gum disease can occur around an implant which can lead it to fail and become loose.
Implants are the most expensive tooth replacement option, however compared with the other options, can last a lifetime if well-maintained through excellent oral hygiene. Cost starts from $6500 including the surgery and restoration.
Having three implants in the lower jaw for a patient that has no lower teeth, is a really good option to hold a denture in place. The denture is still removable, but is firmly clicked into place which stops it floating around.
Implant bridges are like a permanently fixed-in full set of teeth. This is a specialist area and we would recommend Andrew Newsom and his team for this complex procedure.