A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into jaw bone to hold a replacement tooth, bridge, or denture. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to decay, periodontal disease, an injury, failed root canal, or root resorption.
According to the American Dental Association, there are many reasons to maintain the space of a missing tooth. A significant space between teeth may affect how a person speaks or chews. Adjacent teeth become free range and can move or shift and in some cases, bone loss can occur around a missing tooth.
Dental implants are typically made of titanium, a biocompatible material that serves as a reliable foundation (tooth root) for replacement teeth. Natural bone locks the implant down by growing around the implant and fusing it into place.
Fossil evidence suggests attempts to recreate teeth using substances such as stone, ivory and wood. Proven safe and effective at replacing missing teeth, modern dental implants have been in use for more than 40 years.
Dental implant surgery is one of the safest procedures in dentistry and it is the only restoration method that stimulates natural bone beneath the missing tooth.
Every case is unique and every patient heals differently. A dentist can provide an estimate of how much chair time to expect.
General dentists diagnose and maintain the overall oral health of patients. They may have knowledge in specialty areas like implants. Well-qualified implant experts can be found on the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) website. AAID professionals have earned a prestigious American Academy of Implant Dentistry credential, a stringent requirement that must be earned through education, training, examination and the demonstration of competency in implant dentistry.
Three million people in the U.S. have dental implants and that number is growing by 500,000 a year. Dental implants are a reliable solution to missing teeth. Studies show success rates routinely above 98 percent.
The cost of most dental implants is identical to that of the average three-tooth bridge. The long-term cost for an implant (versus a bridge) is much lower, since a bridge will most likely need to be replaced at some point.
Dental implants can take two to several months to integrate into place. The bone around a new implant needs time to heal so it can secure the implant into place.
Most patients can be fully sedated, partially sedated, or numbed with anesthetic. Little to no discomfort is the goal. Implants can also be placed with the assistance of dental lasers. Lasers offer leading-edge techniques for successful implant placement and patient comfort.