What is a Dental Implant?


A dental implant is a replacement for a natural tooth that closely mimics its structure. It consists of two parts – a root that sits beneath the gum line and a visible tooth above it. Unlike a natural tooth made of enamel, a dental implant uses a titanium base below the gum line and a porcelain crown above it that matches the natural color of teeth. At Portobello Dental Clinic, they use titanium implants made by Straumann, a leading implant company, because titanium is sturdy, corrosion-resistant, and well-tolerated by the body. After placing the implant in the jaw, the bone and gum will heal around it in about three to six months. Once the implant has integrated with the bone, the porcelain crown can be attached on top of it using either a titanium or zirconium connector.


If you have a single tooth missing, whether at the front or back of your mouth, multiple missing teeth, or dentures that are uncomfortable or do not fit securely, it may be worth considering dental implants. For a single missing tooth, an implant crown is sufficient, but if there are multiple missing teeth, an implant bridge may be necessary. It is not always necessary to create an implant for each missing tooth, as several porcelain teeth can be attached to two implants.


Implants can also help improve the fit of complete dentures, providing greater stability, comfort, and improved chewing ability.


In addition to these common uses, dental implants can be used to improve the fit of partial dentures and can serve as temporary anchors during orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth.


There are several benefits of dental implants, including a high success rate, with 92% of implants still functioning perfectly after 10 years. Implants also preserve the natural state of adjacent teeth since there is no need to remove layers from them during treatment. They feel like natural teeth, never decay, enable proper chewing, and restore full bite strength. Additionally, implants prevent further bone loss and offer a permanent solution for missing teeth while improving overall cosmetic appearance.



The process of getting dental implants typically involves several steps. First, an individualized treatment plan is developed through consultation with a dentist, including analysis of models of your teeth, x-rays, and CT scans.

Most patients will undergo two procedures. The first involves placing a titanium implant (replacement tooth root) into the bone socket of the missing tooth, typically done under local anesthetic. During this procedure, a bone graft may also be performed to supplement the jawbone for better anchoring of the implant.

After surgery, pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs are provided, along with antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. For the next few months, the implant integrates with the jawbone.

Once integration is complete, a healing cap is placed on top of the implant, and impressions are taken and sent to a specialist implant laboratory. A connector post (abutment) is then attached to the implant, and a custom-made porcelain tooth is fitted over the abutment, resulting in a natural-looking and feeling tooth.

While dental implants have a high success rate, infections are rare, and antibiotics are prescribed after surgery. Overall, the process involves careful planning, a surgical procedure, and a period of integration and healing before final placement of the custom-made tooth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants consist of titanium posts, abutments and a prosthetic, which serve as both replacement tooth roots and teeth. Implants are securely fitted within the jawbone structure, naturally fusing with existing bone structure through a process of osseointegration. The titanium tooth roots act as a permanent fixture for dental crowns, dentures and bridges.

Who is a suitable candidate for Dental Implants?

Patients who have lost a tooth or teeth due to oral trauma may be suitable candidates for dental implants. Dental implant dentists (or implantologists) examine the jawbone to decide whether the patient is suitable for treatment. If the jawbone is too narrow a bone graft may be necessary to build up the jawbone structure before treatment commences.

Some patients may need to have their maxillary sinus lining separated from the jawbone, which is done via a sinus lift procedure prior to implant treatment. A sinus lift may be combined with bone grafting procedures to prepare bone surfaces for implants and bone fusion. Once a patient’s oral and facial structure is evaluated during diagnostic testing, the dental implant surgeon will recommend the best route of treatment for the patient.

What is involved in the dental implant procedure?

Patients are first assessed on their suitability for dental implants. Oral dimensions and conditions are tested using diagnostic tools, such as CT Scans, 3D X-ray imaging, radiographs and bite impressions. These enable dental implant dentists to obtain patient-specific measurements of the jawbone and oral facial tissue, thus promoting the accurate placement of dental implants.

The structure of a patient’s jaw is assessed, as is the proximity of the sinus region, to determine if other treatments are necessary prior to the implant procedure. The bone density and resorption ability are also evaluated. If it is established that dental implants are an appropriate treatment, the site is prepared and cleaned.

The basic dental implant procedure involves a small incision being made in the gum line at the exact point where the dental implant post will be inserted. The gum tissue is then lifted or removed, and the jawbone will be gently drilled and the titanium implant post inserted. The drill size may be adjusted according to the type of abutment or implant post used.

The dental implant and jawbone need time to fuse together before a final tooth replacement is fitted. Osseointegration is vital for the success of dental implant treatment, with the time of healing and bone fusion ranging from six weeks to six months.

Depending on the stages involved in surgery, such as whether a bone graft or sinus lift is necessary, treatment and healing times may vary. However, immediately loaded mini dental implants can provide tooth replacement and restoration within one surgery.

Do dental implants feel the same as normal teeth?

The chewing sensation of the dental implant may feel different because the implant is not attached to the periodontal ligament as with natural teeth. However, this initial sensation will shortly become unnoticeable.

Dental implants allow tooth movement without direction or reciprocal action, offering secure anchorage to ensure replacement tooth prostheses such as crowns, bridges and dentures do not slip or shift during oral function.

Replacement teeth fitted to dental implants are made to resemble healthy teeth. These teeth are cosmetically symmetrical and create a stunning smile. Those with dental implants experience greater confidence and enhanced self-esteem. Dental implants do not interfere with daily oral function and look the same as normal teeth.

Are there any risks involved with dental implants?

As with all surgical procedures there are risks, such as bleeding, bruising, infection and nausea. After dental implant treatment patients may experience temporary side-effects and slight discomfort. These affects soon pass and patients will then experience the benefits of their dental implants. After treatment normal oral function may be resumed for eating, drinking and speaking.

What are the types of dental implants?

In contrast to long drawn-out traditional implant methods, innovative and advanced technology and procedures now allow patients to receive dental implants as “Same Day Teeth”. On a global scale there are more than 100 different implant systems in use.

Recognised and trusted brands of dental implants are produced by Nobel Biocare, Camlog and Straumann. These companies develop their dental implant systems using rigorous scientific testing. Nobel Biocare produces dental implant systems for single and multi-tooth installation. Dentists are able to provide solutions for patients with different dental implant needs. German-founded Camlog’s dental implant system optimises implant surface for stability and durability. The company and brand is trusted for reliable implantology care.

Straumann produce a range of dental implant systems, such as SLActive and Roxolid. Considered highly successful and stable Straumann SLActive is a six week dental implant treatment solution, which optimises surface topography for enhanced bone fusion. Straumann Roxolid is a specialist dental implant innovation for patients with limited tooth space and a narrow or thin jawbone, requiring a smaller implant post. These implant posts are 80 percent titanium and 20 percent zirconium for greater tensile strength. Research into dental implant systems is ongoing to improve design, procedures and durability.

What types of artificial teeth are attached to dental implants?

Dental implants may support a number of artificial teeth solutions, such as porcelain crowns, dentures and bridges. Most artificial tooth structures are attached to the implant using the abutment. Overdentures are used when patients have no existing bone structure within the jawbone and are attached as removable substitute teeth. Bar- or ball-retained techniques are used to secure the overdenture to two or four dental implant posts.

What are the alternatives?

Missing or extracted teeth may be replaced by either dental implants or plate-form false teeth, such as bridges and dentures. Dental implants are recognised for their stability and enhanced oral functionality. Full dental implants are considered to have a higher success rate than mini dental implants, which are used as temporary implants or as a cheaper alternative to full dental implants.

What dental implant system does Smile Hub Dental Clinic use?

At Smile Hub Dental Clinic in North Dublin, we use the world renowned Straumann Dental Implant system. This dental implant brand is the most medically researched dental implant system in the world. At Smile Hub Dental Clinic, we know that every patient is different so every treatment is individualised. Smile Hub Dental Clinic reflect this individuality in the selection of it’s high quality dental implants for our patients. Straumann dental implants have a wide range of world class dental implants which we can match precisely to all our various patient’s treatment requirements.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

At Smile Hub Dental Clinic, we make our dental implant crowns with the highest quality porcelain so they blend naturally with your neighbouring teeth. Your dental implant will help to preserve your gum and bone where your tooth was lost.


Dental implants are comfortable as they feel like a natural tooth. The porcelain crown feels like the enamel of teeth and a dental implant crown has the same dimensions as your missing tooth.


Dental implants allow patients to bite and chew food comfortably. It is a tooth for life if you maintain excellent oral hygiene and do not smoke. Regular 6 monthly visits with your dentist in Smile Hub Dental Clinic for a check-up and dental professional cleaning is important.


Dental implants give patients confidence when eating, smiling and talking.

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