Dental Implants Overview
Before development of dental implants, dentures and bridges were the only alternatives for replacing a missing tooth or teeth. Implants are so well-designed, they mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. If you are a candidate, the best result is a dental implant.
Implants are synthetic structures that are placed in the area of the tooth normally occupied by the root. Implants are anchored to the jawbone or metal framework on the bone and act as a foundation for an artificial tooth or permanent bridge. Implants are usually made of titanium. This is the same metal used for most joint replacements, such as hips or knees. Implants can also be used to attach dentures.
Many people are candidates for dental implants. For a successful implant to take hold, a candidate must have proper bone foundation and have a strong immune system. If the bone foundation is lacking, grafting procedures can usually recreate an adequate foundation for successful implants. People with osteopenia and osteoporosis can still enjoy implants!
In general, good candidates who have dental implants can expect high success rates with the procedure. Implants have one of the highest success rates of any replacement in your body.
The procedure can take several visits. Once a sufficient foundation is achieved (or if adequate bone already exists), the implant is placed to occupy the space where the tooth root previously existed. The site is allowed to heal for several weeks or months. This gives your tissue time to grow around the anchor to more firmly hold it in place.
During a follow-up visit, an artificial, natural-looking tooth is fitted over the implanted anchor.