A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is usually constructed from titanium, a biocompatible material that has been used for decades in hip and knee replacement surgeries. The implant is inserted into the jawbone, and the bone fuses with its rough surface in a process called osseointegration. Once the artificial tooth root is anchored into the jawbone, a tooth restoration is attached to the abutment, which is the part of the implant that extends from the top of the gums. Implants can be used to replace one or more teeth:
Single Tooth: In this simple procedure, a single implant is placed at the site of a lost tooth and is affixed with a porcelain crown.
Implant Bridge: A traditional bridge is attached by placing crowns on the healthy teeth on either side of the empty tooth sockets, but an implant bridge uses two or more titanium implants to anchor the restoration in place.
Implant Dentures: In cases where several or all teeth are missing, a few strategically-placed titanium implants can hold a full or partial denture in place.