A dental implant is actually a replacement for the root or roots of a tooth. Like tooth roots, dental implants are secured in the jawbone and are not visible once surgically placed. They are used to secure crowns (the parts of teeth seen in the mouth), bridgework or dentures by a variety of means. They are made of titanium, which is lightweight, strong and biocompatible, which means that it is not rejected by the body. Titanium and titanium alloys are the most widely used metals in both dental and other bone implants, such as orthopedic joint replacements. With a success rate of well over 95%, Dental Implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device.
Generally speaking, if you have lost teeth you are a candidate for dental implants. It is important that you are in good health, however, as there are some conditions and diseases that can affect whether dental implants are right for you.
It takes a dental team to assess and plan dental implant placement and restoration — the fabrication of the crowns, bridgework or dentures that attach atop the implants and are visible in your mouth. The dental team consists of a dentist with advanced training in Dental Implant surgery and Implant Prosthetics , who plans and places the implant and the tooth restorations; and a dental laboratory technician who fabricates them.
Placing dental implants requires a surgical procedure in which precision channels are created in the jawbone, often using a surgical guide. The implants are then fitted into the sites so that they are in intimate contact with the bone. They generally require three months to fuse to the bone before they can have tooth restorations attached to them to complete the process.
Implant crowns and other prosthetic (false) tooth replacements are made to be remarkably failsafe systems. They are removable and replaceable (only by your dentist), so that if damage or wear necessitates replacement, this can be accomplished without affecting the implant(s) or attachment to the bone.
Nevertheless, implants do require maintenance. It is important to practice good daily oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing to control bacterial plaque build-up. It is also important to see your dentist and dental hygienist. Your dentist will need to monitor your implants to make sure the integrity of the osseointegration is stable, and that the implant crowns, bridgework or dentures are functioning adequately.