What are dental implants?
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots made of titanium. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth. Instead of individual crowns, some patients may have attachments on their implant that support a removable denture.
Dental implant procedure
A dental implant is a surgical fixture that is placed in place of the missing tooth into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over the span of a few months. This serves as an "artificial tooth root" to hold a replacement tooth or bridge.
The process of performing dental implants involves several steps:
- First, a titanium post is inserted into the jawbone by a surgeon.
- Over the next several months, bone grows around and stabilizes the implant.
- Lastly, a custom crown designed to blend in with the surrounding teeth is placed over the implant.
- If multiple teeth are missing, an implant may be designed to accommodate a denture or bridge.
Why would you need a dental implant?
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or all of the teeth. The goal of teeth replacement in dentistry is to restore function as well as esthetics.
When it comes to tooth replacement, generally, there are three options:
- Removable dental appliance (complete denture or partial denture)
- Fixed dental bridge (cemented),
- Dental implant
There are great advantages to choosing a dental implant for tooth replacement over the other options. Having a dental implant fused to the jawbone is the closest thing to mimicking a natural tooth because it stands on its own without affecting or altering the nearby teeth and has great stability. Most dental implants are made of titanium, which allows them to integrate with bone without being recognized as a foreign object in our body.
Over time, technology and science have progressed to greatly improve the outcomes of dental implant placement. Today, the success rate for dental implants is close to 98%.