Overview

A dental implant is a titanium post (like a tooth root) that is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line. A healthy implant fuses with the bone and forms the structure to rebuild a tooth or teeth. A crown or bridge is placed onto the implant to replace the missing tooth or teeth.

Benefits

A dental implant feels and looks like a normal tooth. Beyond appearance, a dental implant also makes it easier to eat and speak. Dental implants have the benefit that they do not have to be anchored to other teeth like bridges and partial dentures.

Care

Good oral health habits are required to maintain implants in excellent condition. Implants can be lost due to infections that begin in the surrounding gums and spread down to the bone anchoring the implant. Twice daily brushing and flossing each day are a minimum requirement to maintain good implant health. In addition, regular dental check-ups and hygiene appointments are necessary to ensure the long-term health of the implant. Your dental practitioner will recommend any other oral care requirements necessary to maintain excellent oral health.

Procedure

If you are considering dental implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant.

If your bone is too thin or soft and unable to support an implant, you may require a bone graft. If there is not enough bone height in the upper jaw, other procedures may be required prior to implant placement. You may require treatment by a dental specialist prior to proceeding with an implant.

Implants are usually more expensive than other types of tooth replacement, and there is an additional cost for the crown that is attached to the dental implant. If you are missing a tooth and believe a dental implant might be the right solution for you, start by consulting your dental practitioner.