A primary goal of a dental practitioner is to restore a patient's function, aesthetics, speech, and health. Dental implants have been one of the most beneficial advancements in the field of dentistry to achieve this goal. When a patient loses one or many teeth, there are options to replace the missing teeth. A bridge, a partial or full denture, or dental implants are all options to replace missing teeth.
The restorative option that will most resemble the original tooth is the dental implant. A dental implant is made of titanium and is shaped somewhat like the root of a missing tooth. The dental implant has threads that form a thin titanium oxide layer that allows for bone cells to migrate and adhere to the surface of the implant. After the surgical placement of the dental implant, the adjacent bone will remodel and heal, integrating the titanium implant into the bone (osseointegration). This osseointegration helps to preserve bone in the area of the previous missing tooth and allows implant stability for an abutment and crown to be placed. After the dental implant has time to integrate with the surrounding bone (3-4 months for the lower jaw, 5-6 months for the upper jaw) a restorative dentist can place the abutment and crown. The restored implant will resemble the missing/lost tooth and allow for cleansability along with unaltering the adjacent teeth. In certain circumstances, a patient may have the option to remove a non-restorable tooth and have an implant placed at the same appointment (an immediate implant).
In addition to replacing individual teeth, dental implants are also a great tool in helping to either stabilize or support a loose denture.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons receive extensive training on placing implants for single missing teeth, multiple missing teeth, and implants to support dentures. Please see the video link below for further information provided by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) regarding Dental Implant Surgery.
Please see the informational video below for more information about dental implants: