Having a dental implant

Dental implants

Stage 1: Pre-operative assessment

Before implants can be put in, your dentist takes X-rays and moulds (impressions) of your mouth. These help the dental team to plan your treatment and make the implant to fit your mouth. 

You need several visits to the hospital for this stage.

Stage 2: Bone grafting

If you do not have enough bone to support the implant, you might need a bone graft. Your dentist tells you if you need a bone graft and explains any risks. 

If you have a bone graft, treatment might take 4 to 6 months longer.

Read our information about bone grafting

Stage 3: Having implants put in

This is usually done under local anaesthetic, which is an injection that makes the area of your mouth being treated numb. This means that you do not feel any pain. 

  • The dentist puts in the implant by lifting the gum away from the jaw bone. 
  • The dentist carefully drills into the jaw bone and puts the implant into the bone. 
  • The gum is replaced and held together with stitches. 
  • The stitches are removed about a week later.

Some people need minor bone grafting when they have their implant put in. Your dentist tells you if you need this and what it involves.

After having an implant put in, you usually need to wait for at least 3 months before it can support replacement teeth. 

Some implants stick out through the gum and others are buried under the gum. 

Implants that are buried under the gum need another small surgical procedure before we can use them.

Stage 4: Restorative treatment

You need several appointments to make your replacement teeth (such as your crowns, bridges or dentures). At these appointments, we make moulds and check that the parts used for your replacement teeth fit.

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

Logo PIF

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]

pals icon

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Is this health information page useful?