What is an implant?

A Dental implant is a titanium screw that is placed in the jaw to act as an anchor for a false tooth or set of false teeth functioning in a similar way to a natural tooth root.


Are implants safe?

Implants are manufactured of pure titanium. Bone grows onto the implant so that they will become a permanent part of your body.


Who are candidates for implant placement:

Anyone in reasonable health without any periodontal disease (gums & bone need to be healthy!!) who wants to replace missing teeth. Individuals with tooth loss may experience loss of self–image— & self–esteem, anxiety, depression & social stigma.  People living in modern day societies are responding with heightened expectations, they want to live long & well, free of disease & disorders, impairment, disability & handicap. They want an optimum quality of life & well being. In terms of oral health, new social norms & cultural values dictate that teeth should be retained over the lifetime, without oral pain or dysfunction.   Proper planning, examination & X–rays are needed to ensure that there are sufficient quality– & quantity of healthy bone. Implants can be placed from the age of 18 in females & 20 in males. Bone absorption is common in areas of tooth loss, as dental implants restore normal loading of the bone it hinder further bone loss, hence the sooner one decides to replace a missing tooth with an implant the better.   Uncontrolled diabetes, cortisone therapy & long term osteoporosis therapy are relative contraindications for implant placement. Smoking can cause up to 10–20% failure! Should an implant fail, it can be replaced after the socket has healed.


Contributing factors that increase failure rate:

  • smoking
  • poor oral hygiene– & follow up care,
  • radiation therapy / chemotherapy,
  • specific illnesses:
    • heart disease,
    • blood diseases,
    • malignancies,
    • liver disease

Please note that the implants, like normal teeth are susceptible to infection if good oral hygiene is not maintained. Following successful implant therapy, patients should be offered an individualized supportive care program. Systematic & continuous monitoring of peri–implant tissue conditions is recommended for the diagnosis of peri–implant health & disease.


Not all dentists are trained to provide implant treatment & will therefore refer you to a specialist (the speciality areas of dentistry that are most aligned with dental implants are Prosthodontics, Periodontics & Oral Surgeons).

The surgical procedure can be done in the rooms under local anaesthetic & is generally not at all painful. Surgery consists out of two (2) phases. During the first phase, the implant will be placed into the jaw. The gingiva (gum) will be stitched back into place after which a healing period of about five (5) months is allowed for the implant to integrate. Discomfort after surgery is different from patient to patient & usually relate to the stitches.   After the healing period, second phase surgery / exposure of the implant will take place. The referring dentist / Prosthodontist will be able to take impressions for the implant supported prosthesis two (2) weeks after the exposure.

Peri Implantitis:

This is the inflammatory process that affects the tissue around an osseointegrated implant in function with resulting loss of supporting bone & can be diagnosed with:

  • bleeding on probing,
  • probing depth & loss of attachment / mobility


Therapies proposed for the management of peri–implant diseases appear to be based on the evidence available for the treatment of periodontitis:

  • patient motivation,
  • instruction on oral hygiene procedures,
  • mechanical / chemical plaque removal by professional & self care

Infection around implants: soft tissue, bone defect on x-ray:



Sinus Lift:

A sinus lift is indicated when there is not enough bone in the upper jaw (region of molars & premolars), or if the sinuses are too close to the jaw for dental implants to be placed. It is a surgical procedure that adds bone to the upper jaw between the jaw & maxillary sinuses by lifting the sinus membrane upward. Granules of bone sugar (bone bank) are packed into the space where the sinus was. Once the bone is in place, the area will be stitched closed after which a healing period is allowed prior to implant placement (time varies according to graft material being used)

X-ray of area pre-op sinus lift & post op sinus lift with implant placement:








Bone Augmentation:

The procedure of building up the bone is known as Bone Grafting. Bone Grafting is a very common procedure in dentistry & it is used quite a bit for dental implants & in periodontal procedures around natural teeth. A shortage of bone can be overcome by using a variety of materials which can either be placed at the time of implant placement or as a separate procedure prior to implant placement




Single Implants:



Patient with congenital absent laterals, pre- & post op clinical & x-ray photos, Orthodontist created space for implant placement, implant placement, implant supported crowns:







Multiple Implants:

Adult patient with periodontal disease: perio surgery, orthodontic treatment, implant placement (pre- &post op):






X-rays pre &post op, posterior teeth had no long term prognosis & had to be extracted, anterior teeth treated periodontally, implants placed poterior to replace missing teeth with fixed prosthesis to restore function with implant supported crowns: