Dental implant procedure
Your initial implant consultation
Before your dental implant is fitted, you will need to book a consultation with the implant dentist of your choice. If your local Bupa Dental Care practice doesn’t offer implants, they can often refer you to another practice nearby which does.
In your consultation, your dentist will answer any questions you might have about the procedure and will carry out any X-rays and scans needed to determine your suitability for treatment.
Your treatment plan
Your dentist will discuss your individual treatment plan with you and give you a quote for the cost of your treatment.
The time it takes to complete the whole process varies on a case by case basis but is usually between three and nine months. Your dentist will talk you through this during your initial consultation.
Preparing for your implant
Your treatment time may be longer if you need any additional treatments to prepare for your implant fitting, such as a bone graft. If you don’t have enough bone in the jaw to support your new implant, then the bone volume can be increased by a procedure called grafting. This can be done artificially or surgically grafted from another part of the body depending on the extent of the bone loss.
Ben White, a dentist with over a decade’s experience fitting implants at White Dental, part of Bupa, explained, “Surgical bone grafts are only used in those patients with severe bone loss. We only get one to two cases per year”.
Implants are usually fitted in two separate procedures. This is because the jawbone needs to heal around the base of the implant before the new tooth (also known as a crown) is fitted onto it. It must be properly embedded into the bone, as once inserted, the implant acts as the root for the new tooth. This usually takes a few months to successfully heal.
Your initial implant procedure
The implant procedure is usually performed under local anaesthetic, meaning you’ll be awake but your mouth will be numbed so you won’t feel it.
Your dentist will cut into your gum and drill a small hole into the jawbone to fit the base of the implant. The internal screw (also known as the abutment) then snugly fits into the hole in the centre of the implant. The diagram illustrates how the screw fits into the jawbone.
Building and fitting your new tooth
Your new tooth is then custom-made by a dental technician. Once the abutment has been fitted, your dentist will take an impression of your mouth and send it off to the technician, who will build your new tooth matching the shape, size and colour of your surrounding teeth. This also makes sure it fits perfectly onto the implant base.
You’ll then come back in a few months’ time to have your new tooth fitted onto your implant.
After your new tooth has been fitted
After your implant and crown have been successfully fitted, your dentist will schedule in regular follow up appointments with you to make sure that the bone and gum around the implant and crown have healed correctly and everything is comfortable for you. To make sure you get the most out of your implant and that it heals successfully, read our guidance on how to take care of your implant.
You can rest assured that you’re in safe hands. All our dentists who fit implants and restore them with crowns or dentures have undergone further postgraduate training, to the satisfaction of the General Dental Council (GDC).