Whether you have lost all of your teeth, a few of them, or even just one tooth, dental implants should be considered as an option to improve how your teeth function and look. The image on the left shows a single implant that is placed in the jaw with a porcelain tooth/crown placed on top.
A dental implant is as an artificial tooth root that is submerged into the jawbone. When dental work such as a crown, fixed bridge or a full set of dentures is added, one or more missing teeth can be replaced. Anything attached to a dental implant will generally be permanent. There are situations where dentures can be attached to the implants and these, even though very firmly placed, will need to be removed for cleaning.
After a comprehensive assessment of the health of the patient and the health and quality of the bone at the implant site there is potential to place an implant. In back teeth there is generally an initial 2 month healing period, during which the implant is buried in bone and left undisturbed under gum tissue with only a healing cap visible. Many anterior (front) implants can be restored very soon, even days after placement. The implant is connected to a small metal post ( the abutment in the image below) that secures and supports the artificial tooth. Multiple implants can be placed to support larger restorations such as bridges and dentures.
The implant titanium material is extremely biocompatible. The bone grows on to the implant and so secures it. This makes the implant very strong. Implants are generally very successful and permanent. Though they can still fail if patients do not follow all advice from their dentist. Implants do require good gum health so still need to be cleaned efficiently just like a normal tooth. Poor cleaning and bad habits such as smoking are very bad for implant health.