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All about dental implants

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is a long-term solution for replacing missing teeth. Your dentist places them directly into your jawbone, where they provide an artificial replacement for the root of your missing tooth or teeth. They can support crowns or dentures, in a similar way that roots support natural teeth. Having missing teeth can really knock your confidence, as well as affect the way you eat and speak. Dental implants offer a long-lasting and discreet choice of treatment for replacing teeth.

A dental implant itself is a titanium screw, which is placed directly into your jawbone, replacing your missing tooth root. After it’s fitted, the bone surrounding your implant will gradually fuse to it, holding the implant firmly in place. A false tooth (a crown or denture) is then fitted to the top of the implant (the abutment), giving a natural look to your smile.

130,000 dental implants are placed in the UK every year.1

You can have a single implant, or you can have multiple ones if you need more than one tooth replaced. It is possible to have several implants fitted in the same procedure. If you have few or no teeth, the “teeth in a day” technique might work for you. This uses four to six implants supported by a bridge. For more information, ask your dentist.

Benefits of implants and alternatives

We know people feel self-conscious if they have missing teeth. With an implant, hopefully you can get your confidence back – whether it’s in your smile, how you eat or when you talk.

An implant isn’t the only way to replace missing teeth – there are several other solutions. These include:

  • Full or partial dentures – false teeth attached to a removable metal or plastic framework
  • Bridges – false teeth that are fixed onto the existing teeth either side of your missing tooth or teeth

Your dentist will help you to decide what’s best for you. An implant isn’t the right option for everybody. It can depend on many things, including which teeth are missing, and the condition of your remaining teeth and gums.

One of the reasons people choose implants is that they’re a more permanent option than dentures. So long as you care for your implant properly, they can last as long as natural teeth. Dentures tend to last for around five to 10 years. And as they’re made to fit your mouth exactly, they can become less comfortable as your mouth changes shape over time.

Implants may also be a preferred option if you want to avoid causing any damage to your existing teeth. This can happen if you have a bridge, as sometimes it can mean cutting your natural teeth to fit them.

People might choose to have bridges because, in some circumstances, it’s a less complicated procedure than implants. They might also be needed if your dentist doesn’t think you have enough bone to fit an implant and you don’t want to have a bone graft. Read more about the dental implant procedure.

How will my dental implant be fitted?

Dental implants are usually fitted during two separate procedures; the first being to fit the implant itself into your jawbone, and then the second a few months later to fit the new tooth onto the implant.

You’ll usually be able to have the procedure in your dentist’s surgery, under local anaesthesia. Tell your dentist if you’re feeling particularly anxious about treatment, as they might be able to offer you a sedative to help you relax. Read more about the dental implant procedure.

Can anyone have dental implants?

Dental implants are suitable for most adults who are in good general health and have healthy gums. They aren’t suitable for children and young people under 18 because the underlying bones are still growing.

Your dentist may not recommend dental implants if you:

  • Are a smoker
  • Have had radiotherapy to your jaw area
  • Have diabetes which isn’t well-controlled
  • Suffer with gum (periodontal) disease

However, each case is different. Tell your dentist about any medical problems you have, and they’ll let you know if implants are an option for you.

Find your local Bupa Dental Care implant dentist

Find out more about dental implants


We have more detailed information about the dental implant procedure, how to look after your implant, and how much they cost.

1Association of Dental Implantology via
Dentistry.co.uk- https://www.dentistry.co.uk/2018/02/20/skys-limit-implant-dentistry/

2LaingBuisson, Dentistry UK Market Report, 5th ed. If you require verification please email marketing@bupadentalcare.co.uk

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Healthcare Limited. Registered in England and Wales number: 03257078. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

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