A dental implant is a titanium post (like a tooth root) that is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line that allows your dentist to mount replacement teeth or a bridge into that area. An implant doesn't come loose like a denture can. Dental implants also benefit general oral health because they do not have to be anchored to other teeth, like bridges.

If you are considering implants, you must 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. Or if there is not enough bone height in the upper jaw or the sinuses are too close to the jaw, you may require a sinus lift.

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When would someone need a dental implant?

Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or all of the teeth. The goal of teeth replacement in dentistry is to restore function as well as esthetics.

When it comes to tooth replacement, generally, there are three options: (1) removable dental appliance (complete denture or partial denture), (2) fixed dental bridge (cemented), and (3) dental implant. Dentures are the more affordable option for replacement teeth but are the least desirable because of the inconvenience of a removable appliance in the mouth. Furthermore, dentures can affect one's taste and sensory experience with food. Dental bridgework was the more common restorative option prior to the relatively recent shift to dental implant treatment. The main disadvantage to bridgework is the dependence on existing natural teeth for support. Implants are supported by bone only and do not affect surrounding natural teeth. Deciding on which option to choose depends on many factors. Specifically for dental implants, these factors include.

  • location of missing tooth or teeth,
  • quantity and quality of the jawbone where the dental implant is to be placed,
  • health of the patient,
  • cost, and
  • patient preference.

  • A dental surgeon examines the area to be considered for the dental implant and makes a clinical assessment of whether the patient is a good candidate for a dental implant.
    There are great advantages to choosing a dental implant for tooth replacement over the other options. Dental implants are conservative in that missing teeth can be replaced without affecting or altering the adjacent teeth. Furthermore, because dental implants integrate into the bone structure, they are very stable and can have the look and feel of one's own natural teeth.