Dental implants

Today there are numerous methods for the replacement of missing teeth, and those supported by dental implants constitute today’s state of the art.

What exactly is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a titanium screw implanted in the site of edentulism, functioning as an artificial root canal. This artificial root canal serves as the basis for the construction of different tooth replacements

Why is it important to replace missing teeth?

  • We feel ill at ease to smile and lose self-esteem due to a missing tooth or missing teeth (edentulism)
  • Edentulism may cause certain phonation disorders
  • We develop difficulties chewing and swallow things whole, which may give rise to digestive disorders.
  • Teeth around missing teeth may fall in or go loose
  • Missing teeth make for unbalanced mastication with the temporomandibular joints loaded unevenly which gives rise to jaw clicking, teeth grinding, headaches and neck pains, tinnitus and other symptoms of dysfunction.

 What kinds of edentulism indicate a dental implant?

Implants can be applied in numerous instances such as

  • free-end edentulism,
  • bounded edentulous spaces,
  • complete edentulism

The variety of tooth replacements designed for implants is inexhaustible. They can provide a solution for virtually any tooth replacement, be it a crown, bridge or an overdenture.

In other words no adjacent healthy teeth need to be prepared, if an implant is to be installed?

Exactly. No adjacent teeth need to be involved in such procedures, they remain intact.

How long after tooth extraction is the instalment of implants due?

Following tooth loss, in order to prevent the decay of the peridontium it is ill-advised to postpone the instalment of the implants for years on end. If we chew with the edentulous ridge a large extent of decay may present itself with the bone “wearing out” and giving rise to a concave arch on the dental arch or jaw.

What is the minimum lead-time required between tooth extraction and the instalment of a dental implant?

This depends on the cause of tooth loss, but overall, a 3-month period will be required between the two interventions during which time the gum can heal. With large extents of inflammation, purulent foci or abscesses, a longer healing period of 6 months is indicated.

What to do with insufficient bone mass at the site of tooth extraction?

Different bone graft procedures exist that may provide a solution (cf. sinus lift) but these options will always be custom-tailored to the patient’s needs in the course of consultation and the CT scan. It must be borne in mind, however, that healing time with bone grafts is longer (6 months). With larger bone defects bone graft and implantation cannot even be conducted in a single session. First a bone graft is carried out and the instalment of the implant follows after 6 months’ healing time.

How much healing time must elapse between the instalment of the implant and the preparation of the permanent tooth replacement?

This healing time is determined by the doctor conducting the implant surgery on the day the implant is installed into the bone and is greatly influenced by the stability of the implant in the bone. Healing usually lasts 3 months but with a bone graft involved it may take up to 6 months. It is ill-advised to load the implants straight away. The body is best allowed to recover and the treatments should be carried out in due course; hastiness does not pay its way here.

What contraindicates the instalment of an implant?

  • a severe haematopoietic disorder
  • a severe uncontrolled diabetes and associated micro circulatory disorders
  • medication (such as bisphosphonates) adversely affecting the healing of the implant
  • pregnancy
  • heavy smoking
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • drug addiction
  • underage children
  • severe psychic disorders
  • incapability of maintaining proper oral hygiene



Implant-retained tooth replacements require a great deal more care and follow-up than natural teeth-retained crowns and bridges. There is a close relationship between the long-term success of the implants and oral hygiene. Annual follow-up panoramic X-rays and thorough professional tartar removal (scaling) are indispensable. Any change or disease in our body can influence the quality of the bone, and hence the condition of the gum too, making dental examinations vital in the timely discovery and treatment of any emerging issues.