Updated 15 January 2018

Everything you need to know about tooth implants

Tooth implants are metal posts or frames that are surgically fixed to the jawbone beneath your gums. Once in place, they allow your dentist to mount replacement teeth onto them. We answer common questions below.

The following Q&A deals with common questions about prosthodontics (tooth implants) and explains how technological developments have made this a viable option for many. 

1. What are tooth implants?

A. Tooth implants are used to replace teeth that people have lost. A titanium implant is fixed to the jawbone, to which it binds (osseointegration), and then a crown is fixed to it. This is a very effective way to replace a tooth. 

2. Can lost bones in the jaw be regrown?

A. In many cases it is possible to restore the lost bone. This is called "guided bone regeneration", or "bone grafts". Your dentist will be able to inform you if it can be done in your case. 

3. How can I find out if I’m a suitable candidate for teeth implants?

A. Diagnostic records and a CT–Scan (a 3-dimensional kind of X-ray that indicates if there is enough bone left on which to fix the implants) will show if it will work or not.  

4. Do teeth implants last for a long time?

A. Tooth implants can last more than 35 years. If implants become part of the bone structure they should last as long as ordinary teeth if they are well taken care of. 

5. Are tooth implants a recent development, or have they been around for a while?

A. The process that was developed in Sweden in 1957 has been performed for more than 30 years. Tests were done in the 1960s, and in the 1970s they were introduced in the western world. The process is entirely safe and is a good solution if you have lost a tooth. 

Read more: 

The facts on bleaching your teeth 

Braces in adulthood 

Brackets hardly have to show 


Ask the Expert

Oral health expert

Dr Imraan Hoosen qualified from the Medical University of South Africa in 1997. Together with his partner, Dr Hoosen now runs a group of dental practices around Johannesburg (Lesedi Private Hospital, Highlands North Medical Centre , Brenthurst Clinic, Parklane Clinic, Simmonds Street Medical and Dental Centre, Soni Medical Centre- Newclare). Dr Hoosen can be contacted on 011 933 4096.

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