Before development of dental implants, dentures were the only alternative to replacing a missing tooth or teeth.
Implants are synthetic structures that are placed in the area of the tooth normally occupied by the root. Dental implants are anchored to the jawbone or metal framework on the bone and act as a foundation for an artificial tooth or permanent bridge. In some cases, dental implants can be used to attach dentures.
Not everyone is a candidate for a dental implant, however. For a successful dental implant to take hold, a candidate must have proper bone density and have a strong immune system. In all cases, dental implants require strict oral hygiene.
Dental implants are so well designed that they mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. Dental implants are usually made of a synthetic yet biocompatible material like metal or ceramic.
Surgery is necessary to prepare the area for an implant and place the dental implant in the mouth. Following the procedure, a period of time is required for the dental implant to take hold and for bone tissue to build up and anchor the device. In some cases, metal posts are inserted into the dental implant during a follow-up procedure to connect the tooth.
Because dental implants require surgery, patients are administered anesthesia and, if necessary, antibiotics to stave off infection following the procedure.
Like any restoration, dental implants require diligent oral hygiene and proper care to ensure they last a long time.