Dental implants enable dentists to create healthy, attractive smiles in an innovative way. Used to replace one or more missing teeth, implants are another alternative to conventional bridges and dentures. In essence, dental implants act and look like natural teeth. And, because they maintain bone mass, dental implants can help prevent additional tooth loss as well as the sunken facial appearance associated with missing teeth. A dental implant restoration consists of a bio-compatible titanium screw and post topped by a crown bridge or denture.The implant is surgically replaced into the jawbone where it replaces the natural tooth root. In a few months, the implant securely attaches to the bone (called “osseointegration”), allowing it to withstand biting and chewing forces just like a healthy, natural tooth.The most common indications for implant therapy are:
- Replacement of one or more missing teeth
- Support of a non-removable “bridge” to replace multiple teeth
- Support of a removable full or partial denture
Patients who successfully pass a screening and evaluation can be considered as candidates for implant replacement. The primary limiting factor inherent in implant therapy is the amount of bone available to receive and support the implant. If it’s determined that a patient does not have enough bone to support an implant restoration, bone-grafting procedures may be considered. Heavy smoking and some medical conditions may preclude the use of implant therapy.