Dental implants

Dental implants are artificial replacements for your tooth roots. We put them within the bone of your jaw to help support dentures, crowns (caps) or bridges. 

Implants should give you long-lasting tooth replacement if you care for them in the way teeth should be.

Qualified dentists fit your implant. These dentists are consultants, specialists or postgraduate students. A consultant is responsible for your care, but more than one dentist might treat you.

Having a dental implant

A dental implant is usually done in 3 or 4 stages:

  • a pre-operative assessment
  • bone grafting (not everyone needs this)
  • putting in your implant
  • fitting your crown, bridges or denture (restorative treatment)

Each stage might involve several visits to your dentist at the hospital. In total, your treatment could take 6 to 12 months.

Your dental team explain your planned treatment.

You may have sedation (a medicine to make you feel sleepy and relaxed) or a general anaesthetic (a medicine to make you sleep). Your dental team give you information about this before your treatment starts.

Preparing to have a dental implant

It is important to tell your dental team about any problems with your health and any tablets or medicines that you take. 

Some medical conditions change the advice and information that the team need to give you.


We strongly recommend that you try to stop smoking and remain a non-smoker in the long term. This lowers your risk of some implant complications.

For help to give up smoking, please speak to your nurse or call our stop smoking service on 020 7188 0995.

Benefits of dental implants

Dental implants are used when your dentist does not want to crown healthy teeth. Implants are also useful if a denture or bridge would be difficult or impossible because there are no suitable teeth or gums to support them.

Risks of dental implants

There is a small risk that the implants might not join properly with the bone in your jaw, and so cannot be used. This risk is higher in some people, including those who smoke. The dental team tell you if they think that this risk is higher than normal for you.

Parts of your implant can loosen or wear out with time. This can lead to the implant not working if it is not treated quickly. 

You are responsible for the long-term care of your implants. Your local dentist can look after your dental implants. This is at your own cost.

If you have a bone graft, this can cause swelling, bruising and pain.

We want to involve you in decisions about your care and treatment. If you decide to have a dental implant, we ask you to sign a consent form. This says that you agree to have the treatment and understand what it involves. 

If you would like more information about our consent process, please speak to a member of staff caring for you.

Other treatment options

The treatment options are different for each person. Your dental team talk to you about the treatment options that are best for you. This might be no treatment, preparing other teeth for crowns or bridges, or a different design of denture.

Resource number: 2846/VER3
Last reviewed: July 2021
Next review due: July 2024

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Contact us

If you have any problems or concerns, please contact the dental implant department.

Phone: 020 7188 1816

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Email: [email protected]

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Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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