All You Need to Know About Dental Implants, from Procedure to Maintenance


Dental implants offer a modern option for those with missing teeth, blending seamlessly with natural teeth for functional and aesthetic restoration. Yet, the journey from deciding on dental implants to their successful integration involves multiple steps, each with its own set of considerations. This complexity often leaves individuals seeking clear, comprehensive guidance to navigate the process confidently.

This blog aims to provide an all-encompassing overview of dental implants, covering essential topics from the initial procedure to the crucial maintenance phase. We will explore the types of implants, outline the step-by-step procedure, discuss qualification criteria, and address how to manage costs. Additionally, we’ll provide strategies for mitigating risks and maximising the long-term success of dental implants for those considering this transformative dental treatment.

Summary of The Content

  • Dental implants are artificial tooth roots, usually made from titanium, offering a long-lasting base for fixed, replacement teeth.
  • They require surgical placement into the jawbone, followed by a period of osseointegration where the implant fuses with the bone.
  • A comprehensive dental examination, including X-rays and possibly a 3D scan, is essential for planning the procedure.
  • Candidates for dental implants need adequate bone density, healthy gums, good overall health, and good oral hygiene.
  • The cost of dental implants varies, with straightforward implants ranging from $4,500 to $5,000 per tooth, depending on various factors.
  • Payment plans, health funds, dental savings plans, and government assistance can help manage the costs of dental implants.
  • Maintaining dental implants involves regular brushing, flossing, using interdental brushes, avoiding hard and sticky foods, and quitting smoking.
  • Dental tourism can offer cost savings on implants but comes with risks, such as quality concerns and follow-up care complications.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots, usually made from titanium, that provide a long-lasting base for fixed, replacement teeth. They blend with natural teeth and are a popular option for missing teeth due to injury, periodontal disease, or other reasons. Unlike conventional dentures, which are removable, dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone. They fuse with the bone over a few months in a process known as osseointegration.

Here’s how dental implants work:

  • Surgical placement:
    The implant, resembling a screw, is placed into the jawbone to serve as a new root.
  • Healing process:
    Over time, the implant integrates with the bone, creating a sturdy base.
  • Abutment attachment:
    Once integrated, a small connector called an abutment is attached to the implant.
  • Artificial tooth placement:
    A custom-made crown, matching natural-looking teeth, is then attached to the abutment.

This innovative approach not only provides a foundation for replacement teeth but also preserves facial structure. This prevents bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing. Understanding dental implants offers insight into modern dental treatments for missing teeth.

The Dental Implant Procedure

Understanding the dental implant procedure from start to finish can help alleviate some of that stress. Here’s a step-by-step guide to what you can expect before, during, and after the dental implant procedure.

  • Step 1: Initial Consultation
    Your journey towards dental implants starts with an initial consultation with your dentist. This is where your oral health will be assessed, and any dental treatment you might need before the procedure will be discussed. Your dentist will also evaluate if you have a healthy bone structure to support the implants.
  • Step 2: Dental Health Assessment
    A comprehensive dental examination follows the consultation. This involves X-rays and possibly a 3D scan of your jawbone. These images help the dentist plan the entire process meticulously.
  • Step 3: Effective Treatment Plan
    Based on your dental health and medical history, a customised treatment plan suitable for the actual patient will be created. This plan will outline the dental implant types that are well-suited for you and the estimated cost involved.
  • Step 4: Bone Grafting (If Necessary)
    If your jawbone is found to be insufficient for the implant, a dental bone graft may be necessary. This process helps in bone growth and sets the stage for successful treatment.
  • Step 5: Implant Placement
    The actual dental implant surgery involves placing a titanium post into your jawbone. This acts as an artificial tooth root and is a crucial part of dental implant placement. The surgical procedure is usually performed under sedation for your comfort.
  • Step 6: Osseointegration
    After the implant is placed, the next step is osseointegration. This is the process where the titanium post fuses with your jawbone, providing a sturdy base for the prosthetic teeth. This phase can take a couple of weeks to months.
  • Step 7: Placing the Abutment and Crown
    Once osseointegration is complete, an abutment is attached to the titanium post. Dental crowns, which are the visible part of the dental implants, are then placed on top of the abutment. These crowns are designed to match your real teeth in both appearance and function.
  • Step 8: Recovery Time and Care
    Post-operative implant care is crucial for the success rate of dental implants. Proper care instructions will be provided, which may include medication to manage mild pain. Regular check-ups will be scheduled to monitor the healing time process and to assess your oral health.
  • Step 9: Long-term Maintenance
    Dental implants are a long-term tooth replacement option, but they do require consistent proper care. Regular dental check-ups, along with a good oral health regimen, are essential for the longevity of your dental implants.

With a clear understanding of the dental implant procedure, regular patients can approach their journey with confidence. As we move forward, the focus on recovery and long-term maintenance highlights the importance of patient involvement in achieving optimal outcomes.

Types of Dental Implants

Dental implants offer a durable option for replacing missing teeth, enhancing both function and aesthetics. They come in various types, each suited to different needs and situations. Let’s explore the different dental implant types available and their advantages and disadvantages.

Endosteal Implants

Endosteal implants are the most commonly used type, placed directly into the jawbone. They usually require a healthy jawbone for placement and osseointegration.

  • Pros
    • High success rate:
      Endosteal implants are well-studied, with a strong track record of effectiveness and durability.
    • Suitable for most patients:
      They are a versatile option for those with a healthy jawbone that supports one or multiple artificial teeth.
  • Cons
    • Requires sufficient bone density:
      Patients with insufficient jawbone may need bone grafting, extending the overall treatment time.
    • Invasive procedure:
      The process involves surgery, requiring a healing period before the final crown can be placed.

Subperiosteal Implants

Subperiosteal implants are placed under the gum but on or above the jawbone. This option is ideal for patients who do not have enough healthy jawbone. This also includes those who cannot or do not want to undergo a bone augmentation procedure to rebuild it.

  • Pros
    • No bone grafting required:
      Ideal for patients with insufficient bone height or who cannot undergo bone augmentation.
    • Shorter treatment time:
      Often involves less invasive procedures and can be completed in a shorter timeframe than endosteal implants.
  • Cons
    • Lower success rate than endosteal implants:
      Subperiosteal implants may not offer the same level of stability or longevity.
    • Limited availability:
      Not as commonly offered or recommended as endosteal implants due to advancements in bone grafting techniques.

Zygomatic Implants

Zygomatic implants are the least common type and are used in cases where the jawbone is significantly deteriorated. They anchor into the zygoma, or cheekbone, instead of the jawbone.

  • Pros
    • Alternative for severe bone loss:
      Provides an option for patients who cannot have traditional dental implants due to significant jawbone loss.
    • Immediate load possible:
      In some cases, temporary teeth may be placed on the same day as implant surgery.
  • Cons
    • Complex procedure:
      Requires a dental professional with experience in zygomatic implants, limiting where they can be performed.
    • Higher risk of complications:
      Due to the complexity and nature of the surgery, there is a higher risk of sinus issues or other complications.

Understanding the dental implant types and their respective pros and cons is crucial for making a decision. Each type offers an option tailored to different challenges, so there’s an option for nearly every situation.

Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental implants offer a modern option for those looking to replace missing teeth, surpassing traditional methods in both functionality and aesthetics. They provide a stable, long-term option for restoring one’s smile, significantly improving quality of life. Here are the dental implant benefits over other alternatives like complete dentures or bridges:

  • Improved oral health:
    Unlike bridges, dental implants do not require altering adjacent teeth, preserving more of your natural tooth structure. This leads to better long-term oral health outcomes compared to alternatives that may compromise the integrity of surrounding teeth.
  • Enhanced comfort and convenience:
    Dental implants eliminate the discomfort and inconvenience associated with removable dentures. They function like your own teeth, freeing you from the worries of dentures slipping or falling out during speech or eating.
  • Better bone health:
    Implants stimulate and preserve natural bone growth, preventing bone loss that often occurs with the loss of teeth. This advantage is not provided by dentures, which can actually accelerate bone loss over time.
  • Improved aesthetics:
    Dental implants are designed to look and feel like your own teeth. They integrate into the structure of your bone, preventing the facial sagging that can occur with bone loss from dentures.
  • Durability and reliability:
    With proper care, dental implants can last approximately 20 years, unlike dentures and bridges that may need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years. This makes implants a more cost-effective option in the long run.
  • Improved eating and speaking:
    Implants function like natural teeth, allowing for better chewing efficiency and clearer speech. Dentures can slip, making it difficult to eat certain foods and speak clearly.
  • Increased self-esteem:
    Dental implants can restore your smile and help you feel better about your appearance, significantly boosting your self-confidence. The psychological dental implant benefits are a significant advantage over the temporary result provided by dentures.

These advantages clearly position dental implants as a good choice for enhancing oral health, functionality, and overall quality of life. The unique dental implant benefits offer a compelling reason for individuals to consider them as a preferred option for addressing tooth loss.

Who is a Good Candidate?

Dental implants offer numerous benefits, but they may not be the right choice for everyone. Here’s a numbered list of criteria that can help you and your dentist determine if dental implants are a viable option for you.

  1. Adequate bone density:
    Sufficient jawbone density is required to support the implant. This allows the implant to be securely anchored, providing a solid foundation for the replacement teeth.
  2. Healthy gums:
    Healthy gums are critical for the success of dental implants. Gum disease or other periodontal issues need to be addressed prior to implantation to prevent complications.
  3. Good overall health:
    Candidates must be in good general health. Conditions that impair healing, such as diabetes or heart disease, must be well-managed.
  4. Non-smoker:
    Smoking can hinder the healing process and negatively affect the success of dental implants. Non-smokers, or those who can quit, are ideal candidates.
  5. No uncontrolled chronic disorders:
    Conditions like uncontrolled diabetes or autoimmune diseases can interfere with healing and the osseointegration process, making management of these conditions a prerequisite.
  6. Adequate oral hygiene:
    A commitment to maintaining good oral hygiene practices is necessary to maximise the longevity and success of dental implants.

Recognising these criteria helps individuals measure their potential for a successful dental implant journey, underlining the need for thorough pre-treatment assessment. Moving forward, emphasis on individual health and readiness paves the way for exploring the next steps in the dental implant process.

Potential Risks and How to Avoid Them

While dental implants offer a highly effective option for replacing missing teeth, like any medical procedure, they come with potential risks. Understanding these risks and how to mitigate them is crucial for the long-term success and health of dental implants. Below, we discuss the risks involved with dental implants and provide guidance on how to avoid or manage these risks effectively.

  • Infection at the implant site
    Infections can occur when bacteria build up around the implant site, potentially resulting in pain, swelling, and implant failure. To avoid this, maintain rigorous oral hygiene practices and follow all post-operative care instructions from your dental professional. Regular dental check-ups are also essential for early detection and management of any signs of infection.
  • Nerve damage
    Nerve damage during implant placement can result in numbness, pain, or a tingling sensation in the teeth, gums, lips, or chin. To minimise this risk, your dental professional should conduct thorough pre-operative planning. This includes detailed imaging studies to map out the placement of the implant away from nerves.
  • Sinus problems
    For implants placed in the upper jaw, there’s a risk of protruding into the sinus cavities, resulting in sinusitis and discomfort. Avoiding this involves careful assessment of bone height in the upper jaw and possibly undergoing sinus augmentation if necessary. This is to get sufficient bone to securely anchor the implant.
  • Implant failure
    Implant failure can occur due to poor osseointegration, where the implant does not properly fuse with the jawbone. Having adequate bone density before the procedure and avoiding smoking can significantly reduce this risk. Additionally, choosing an experienced dental implant professional can also improve success rates.
  • Peri-implantitis
    Peri-implantitis is a condition similar to gum disease, characterised by inflammation of the tissue around the implant and loss of bone. Preventing peri-implantitis involves maintaining good oral hygiene, regular dental visits for cleanings, and avoiding smoking.

Navigating the potential risks associated with dental implants underscores the importance of diligent care and professional guidance. By understanding how to effectively avoid or manage these risks, individuals can confidently pursue their dental implant journey.

The Cost Factor

The cost of dental implants can vary widely, depending on several factors, including the complexity of the procedure and the high-quality materials used. For a straightforward dental implant, patients might expect to pay between $4,500 and $5,000 per tooth. This range is indicative and can fluctuate based on the dental clinic, the location, and any additional treatments required.

To make the dental implant cost more manageable, there are several options available:

  • Payment plans:
    Many dental clinics offer payment plans, allowing patients to spread the cost over several months or even years. This can make the treatment more accessible without requiring upfront payment in full.
  • Health funds:
    Some health fund plans cover a portion of dental implant costs. It’s important to check with your provider to understand what is covered and the extent of the cover.
  • Dental savings plans:
    These are membership-based services offering discounts on various dental services, including implants, for an annual fee. They can be a cost-effective option for those without health funds.
  • Government assistance:
    In certain cases, government health schemes may offer subsidies for dental implants, especially if the procedure is medically necessary. Eligibility and the extent of cover can vary.
  • Comparing prices:
    Prices can vary significantly between clinics. Obtaining quotes from several providers can help you find a financial approach that fits your situation.

Exploring financial options for dental implants demystifies the investment, making it a more accessible choice for those considering this treatment. Engaging with these options allows individuals to approach their dental health needs with confidence, knowing they have a plan to manage the costs effectively.

Dental Implant Maintenance

Maintaining dental implants is crucial for their longevity and the overall health of your mouth. Proper care allows your implants to last many years, functioning effectively as part of your dental structure. Here are practical tips on maintaining dental implants for long-term success:

  • Regular brushing and flossing:
    Just like normal teeth, dental implants require regular brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to avoid scratching the implant surface.
  • Use of interdental brushes:
    Interdental brushes can clean hard-to-reach areas around implants, preventing plaque buildup. Choose a size that fits comfortably between your teeth and the implant.
  • Avoid hard and sticky foods:
    Hard and sticky foods can damage implants. Opt for softer foods and cut down on sweets to protect your implants and surrounding teeth.
  • Quit smoking:
    Smoking can impair healing and negatively affect the health of dental implants. Quitting smoking promotes better oral health and implant durability.
  • Limit consumption of staining substances:
    Coffee, tea, red wine, and other staining substances can discolour the crown of your implant. Rinse your mouth with water after consuming these beverages.
  • Regular dental check-ups:
    Schedule regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist. Professional cleaning can reduce plaque and tartar that regular brushing might miss, especially around implants.
  • Immediate attention to discomfort or looseness:
    If you experience discomfort or notice that your implant feels loose, contact your dentist immediately. Early intervention can prevent more serious issues.

Implementing these maintenance tips can significantly contribute to the longevity and success of your dental implants. Engaging actively in the care of your dental implants not only protects your investment but also supports your overall oral health.

Dental Tourism for Implants

Dental tourism for implants has become an increasingly popular option for many seeking affordable dental care outside their home country. This trend is driven by the significant cost differences and the availability of reputable clinics abroad. Here, we explore the pros and cons of getting dental implants abroad, providing insight into both the benefits and potential drawbacks.


  • Cost savings:
    The most compelling advantage is the potential for substantial cost savings. Dental procedures abroad can be significantly cheaper than in countries with higher living costs, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious patients.
  • Access to reputable clinics:
    Many countries popular for dental tourism have clinics that adhere to international standards, offering high-quality care at a fraction of the cost.
  • Combining treatment with travel:
    Getting dental implants abroad offers the unique opportunity to combine necessary dental work with the experience of travelling to a new country.
  • Shorter waiting times:
    In some countries, patients can benefit from shorter waiting times for dental procedures, allowing for quicker treatment.


  • Quality concerns:
    While there are many reputable clinics, there is also a risk of substandard care. Researching and choosing a reputable provider is crucial.
  • Communication barriers:
    Language differences can pose challenges, potentially resulting in misunderstandings about the treatment plan or aftercare instructions.
  • Follow-up care complications:
    If complications arise once you return home, managing follow-up care can be difficult and potentially more costly.
  • Travel requirements:
    The need to travel, especially for follow-up visits or in the case of complications, can add to the overall cost and inconvenience.

Choosing to pursue dental implants abroad requires careful consideration of these pros and cons. It’s essential to conduct thorough research, understand the potential risks and benefits, and plan accordingly to achieve a positive outcome.

Final Thoughts

Embarking on the dental implant journey marks a significant step towards reclaiming your dental health and confidence. It involves careful consideration, from selecting the right type of implant to understanding the maintenance required for long-term success. Each decision along this path contributes to the ultimate goal of restoring not just a smile but enhancing overall quality of life.

For those considering this transformative step, remember that ongoing care and a trusted dental professional are key to success. Joondanna Family Dental stands ready to support you through every phase of your dental implant journey. Reach out to us today to discover how we can help you achieve the smile you deserve.

Dr. Lucy Ge


Dr. Lucy Ge

Dr. Lucy Ge’s vision for Joondanna Family Dental is to be the local dentist that the community can rely on.


Confidence starts with good oral health, we are the dental team you can count on.

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