Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth by inserting a titanium metal root into the jawbone to anchor an artificial replacement tooth. They look and function like natural teeth. Because of their permanence, implants are more durable and comfortable than dentures.
Implants can be given to people who are in good general health and who have healthy gums and enough bone in the jaw to hold an implant. To be considered for an implant, the dentist will first examine your mouth and take x-rays of your head, jaw, and teeth.
The process of getting an implant usually involves two stages. During the first stage, a metal root is surgically placed into the jawbone and the gum tissue is sutured back together. The tissue is given time to heal and bond the implant to the bone. Once the tissue is healed, in a second surgery, the dentist will attach a connecting abutment to hold the replacement tooth to the implant. Further appointments may be required to ensure the replacement tooth is fitting properly.
Implants can be used to anchor dental bridges if several teeth are being replaced together.
Caring for implants is the same as caring for natural teeth. With good care, a dental implant can last a lifetime.