What is a dental implant?

Purpose of a dental implant

A dental implant fulfils an important aesthetic function. It is suitable as a replacement for missing teeth or to remove braces.

The system is structured in three layers :

  • The implant is an artificial tooth root that is made of pure titanium and looks like a screw.
  • The prosthetic abutment is the intermediate piece between the artificial root and the prosthetic crown
  • The dental crown can be screwed into the abutment, which in turn is screwed into the implant. This is called a bolted prosthesis. It can also be cemented (glued) to the abutment, which is screwed into the implant. In this case, it is a cemented prosthesis.

Which method to use depends on the type of prosthetic restoration to be made (cosmetic impact, load capacity of the prosthesis, number of implants and crowns, etc.).




An implant can be inserted from around 18 years of age, when growth is complete. This can be confirmed by a simple X-ray examination.

There are very few general contraindications to the placement of implants. Osteoporosis or balanced diabetes are not contraindications for implant placement; provided a number of precautions are taken, especially in the area ofasepsis. In contrast, the use of blood thinning agents or antimitotics may temporarily prevent the insertion of implants.

It is also not recommended to perform procedures on patients with systemic diseases (lung, kidney...) in the acute phase. Taking bisphosphonate-based medications may be acontraindication to any dental treatment.

Local contraindications to the placement of implants are usually due to alack of bone volume.. When this is the case, the use of bone grafts can potentially be considered.

There are other contraindications to the placement of implants :

  • When periodontal disease(inflammation of the bone and gums) is in an active stage, surgery should be postponed.
  • Insufficient space pbetween the jaws can be an obstacle to the placement of implants.
  • Teeth grinding patients (bruxomaniacs) may be contraindications for implant treatment.

Only after the clinical assessment (jaw and X-rays) can the final decision be made.


The replacement of a missing tooth can be done by placing a single tooth implant and a ceramic crown. With this solution, the neighbouring teeth remain intact.

However, there are also non-implant solutions for replacing a missing tooth.

This solution avoids the removable denture and its disadvantages. This treatment makes it possible to restore efficient chewing and enjoy life to the full again.

The number of implants needed depends on the number of teeth and roots to be replaced: If there are up to 3 teeth, 3 implants must be placed.

There are two possibilities :

  • Stabilisation of the prosthesis

    Two implants placed in the symphysis (front part of the jaw) can stabilise the full denture. The prosthesis remains a removable prosthesis, but with this solution some disadvantages of the usual full prosthesis can be avoided. For completely edentulous jaws, this is the recommended minimum treatment (Mc Gill Medical Consensus 2001).

  • Restoration of all permanent teeth

    It is possible to restore all permanent teeth with 6 to 8 implants in the upper jaw and 4 to 6 implants in the lower jaw. Goodbye to dentures that fall out or wobble!