Before the development of dental implants, fixed bridges, removable partial or full dentures were the only alternative to replace a missing tooth or several teeth. Fortunately, Implants are so well designed that they look and feel like natural teeth.
Implants are little titanium posts that are placed into sockets created in the jawbone where teeth are missing. The implants serve as substitutes for the missing natural tooth roots. Over time, the jawbone bonds with the titanium creating a strong foundation. Next, a small metal component, called an abutment, is connected to the implant which protrudes through the gum tissue. Now a crown (cap if you like), the part of the tooth that you see and eat with, is connected to the abutment by a screw or cement. Single teeth or several teeth can be replaced with implants.
Surgery is necessary to prepare the area for an implant and place the implant in the jawbone. Following the procedure, a period of time is required for the bone integrate around the implant and anchor it.
Not everyone is a candidate for a dental implant. For a successful 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 and proper care to ensure that they last a long time.