Dental implant offers a permanent solution for replacing missing teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. But with this innovation comes a lot of questions and uncertainties. Are dental implants painful? Are they safe and permanent? Can they be removed? These are just a few of the queries we’ll be tackling head-on.

Whether you’re curious about dental implant types and procedures, concerned about potential risks, or want to know what to expect, this article has you covered. We will delve deep into dental implants, covering everything from what they are and how they work to addressing common concerns and misconceptions.

By the end, you’ll clearly understand the ways of dental implants and why they’re an invaluable option for restoring your smile and confidence.


Understanding Dental Implants

A dental implant is a dental prosthetic designed to replace missing teeth with artificial ones that closely resemble natural teeth in appearance and function. They are anchored directly into the jawbone.

endosteal dental implant structure

The implant is typically made of biocompatible titanium, making it highly corrosion-resistant and rust-resistant. It is surgically placed into the jawbone as the artificial tooth root. Through a process known as osseointegration, the implant fuses with the surrounding bone tissue over time, providing a stable foundation for the prosthetic tooth.

The abutment is a small connector piece that attaches to the top of the implant once osseointegration is complete. It protrudes through the gum line and is the interface between the implant and the prosthetic tooth (crown).

The crown is the visible part of the dental implant restoration and is custom-made to match the shape, size, and colour of the patient’s natural teeth. Crafted from durable materials such as porcelain or ceramic, the crown is attached securely to the abutment, completing the tooth replacement.


Dental Implant Procedures

Unlike other tooth replacement options such as bridges or dentures, dental implants are designed to be a permanent fixture in the mouth.

Depending on the individual patient’s needs and the complexity of the case, the following procedures may be performed to prepare the jawbone for a successful dental implant placement:

  1. Tooth extraction is a surgical procedure that removes a damaged tooth from its socket in the jawbone, creating space for dental implants. In some cases, a surgical extraction may be required if the tooth is impacted or difficult to access.
  2. After a tooth is removed, the jawbone may begin to resorb or shrink over time. Socket preservation is done to maintain the volume and integrity of the jawbone by filling the empty socket with bone graft material.
  3. A sinus lift, also known as a sinus augmentation, is performed when there is insufficient bone height in the upper jaw to support dental implants, often due to the position of the sinus cavity. In this procedure, the sinus membrane is lifted, and bone graft material is inserted into the space between the jaw and the sinus membrane.
  4. Ridge expansion or ridge augmentation is a surgical technique performed when the jawbone is too narrow to accommodate dental implants or when additional bone volume is added for successful implant placement. An incision in the gum tissue is made to access the jawbone. Specialized instruments are then used to gently expand the ridge by creating space for bone graft material.
  5. Bone grafting is performed when the jawbone has insufficient density or volume to support dental implants. Bone graft material, sourced from the patient’s body (autogenous bone), donor bone (allograft), or synthetic materials (alloplastic grafts), serves as a scaffold for new bone growth and provides a stable foundation for implant placement.


Dental implant surgery involves several stages. Like every other dental procedure, it starts with the initial assessment followed suit by treatment planning.

Next is the surgical placement of dental implants which typically involves two main stages.

Insertion of the implant fixture: During this stage, the implant fixture, typically made of biocompatible titanium, is surgically placed into the jawbone. This serves as the artificial tooth root onto which the replacement tooth will be attached. After placement, the implant is left to integrate with the surrounding bone tissue through a process called osseointegration.

Following implant placement, a healing period of several months is necessary to allow for proper osseointegration. During this time, the implant becomes firmly fused with the jawbone, providing a stable foundation for the prosthetic tooth.

Placement of the abutment: After the healing period, once osseointegration is complete, a small connector called an abutment is attached to the implant fixture. The abutment protrudes above the gum line and serves as the anchor for the final restoration.

The final step involves the fabrication and attachment of the prosthetic tooth or teeth onto the abutment. The restoration is custom-designed to blend seamlessly with the patient’s natural teeth in terms of appearance, function, and comfort.

Studies have shown that dental implants are safe and have an average success rate of 90% to 95% over ten years, with many implants lasting even longer with proper care.


Types of Dental Implants

Dental implants are not a one-size-fits-all solution; instead, they encompass a diverse range of types and procedures tailored to individual needs.

Endosteal implants are typically made of titanium, known for its biocompatibility and ability to fuse with bone tissue. They are surgically placed directly into the jawbone, providing a sturdy foundation for replacement teeth. This type is the most common type of dental implant used today.

The all-on-4 dental implant technique is a specialized procedure designed to replace an entire arch of missing teeth with just four implants (six, for an all-on-6 dental implant). This innovative approach maximizes the use of available bone and minimises the need for bone grafting.

Mini dental implants are smaller in diameter than endosteal implants and are often used in situations where space or bone density is limited. These implants can be placed with less invasive techniques and are commonly used to stabilize dentures or support single-tooth restorations in areas with narrow ridges.


Instead of anchoring into the jawbone, zygomatic implants are anchored into the zygomatic bone (cheekbone). They are an advanced option for patients with severe bone loss in the upper jaw.

Subperiosteal implants are an alternative option for patients with insufficient bone height or density for traditional implants. This type of implant consists of a metal framework that protrudes through the gums to support artificial teeth. They are placed on top of the jawbone but underneath the gum tissue.



Dental Implant Failure, Pain and Complications

Who is responsible for dental implant failure?

While the success of a dental implant procedure greatly depends on the skill and expertise of the dental professional performing it, there are factors beyond the surgical technique that can contribute to implant failure. Patient-specific variables and post-operative care also play crucial roles in determining the success of dental implants.

Failing to maintain good oral hygiene and dietary modifications, smoking, having certain systemic conditions, insufficient bone density, and ultimately, non-compliance with post-operative instructions.

Persistent pain or discomfort around the implant site, swelling, redness, or bleeding of the gums, and mobility or looseness of the implant could be signs of dental implant failure. Additionally, if you notice any changes in the bite alignment or the appearance of the surrounding teeth, it could indicate potential issues with the implant.

The same goes for abutment failure which occurs when the abutment becomes damaged or dislodged. Symptoms may include pain, discomfort, or visible damage to the abutment structure.

In cases of severe implant failure or complications, removal and replacement may be necessary to restore oral health and function. While this is not common, it’s essential to work closely with your dentist or oral surgeon to determine the best course of action for your situation.

What about pain during and after dental implant surgery?

During the dental implant surgery itself, patients are typically administered local anaesthesia to numb the treatment area, ensuring a pain-free experience. Additionally, for those who experience anxiety or discomfort during dental procedures, sedation options such as oral sedatives or intravenous (IV) sedation may be available to induce relaxation and alleviate any discomfort.

After the surgery, some degree of discomfort or soreness is normal as the body heals and adjusts to the implants. However, this discomfort is usually manageable with over-the-counter pain medications prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon. Any discomfort typically subsides within a few days to a week post-surgery.


Common Questions

Can dental implants be placed in a single day?

Yes, same-day dental implant procedures are possible in certain cases. Factors such as bone density, oral health, and the complexity of the case will influence whether immediate implant placement is feasible.

What are the risks of infection during and after implant placement, and how are they managed?

The risk of infection during and after implant placement is minimized through strict sterilization protocols and proper surgical techniques. Antibiotics may also be prescribed before and after surgery to further reduce the risk of infection.

Why is dairy consumption avoided after dental implant surgery?

Not only dairy but every other food or drink that contains sugars and proteins that can feed the bacteria in the mouth and potentially dislodge the surgical site or irritate the gums. These would be sugary foods and beverages, sticky and crunchy foods, and spicy and acidic foods. Avoiding these at least within 48 hours after surgery will reduce the risk of infection and promote proper healing.

Are dental implants linked to cancer?

A systematic review of articles and case review by Pinchasov et al states that there is no direct link between dental implants and oral cancer. Dental implants use materials such as titanium that are well-tolerated by the body and do not pose any known carcinogenic risks.

Will dental implants affect MRI?

Yes, dental implants can affect MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans. The presence of metal in dental implants, such as titanium, can cause artifacts or distortions in the MRI images. However, modern MRI machines are equipped with protocols to minimize these effects, and most dental implants are MRI-safe. It’s important to inform your healthcare provider about any dental implants before undergoing an MRI to ensure appropriate precautions are taken.


When is a dental implant needed?

So, when might you need a dental implant? If you’re missing one or more teeth due to injury, decay, or other dental issues, dental implants could be the perfect solution for restoring your smile and confidence. However, it’s crucial to consult with a trusted dental professional to determine the best course of action for your specific needs.

But what if a dental implant fails? While implant failure is rare, it’s essential to recognize the signs and take action promptly. If you experience any discomfort, swelling, or other abnormal symptoms around your dental implant, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist for evaluation and possible treatment.

At Inner West Dental, we’re dedicated to providing top-notch cosmetic dentistry services, including dental implants. Our experienced team of professionals is committed to helping you achieve optimal oral health and a radiant smile. Visit to learn more about our services and schedule a consultation today.