Dental implants are root shaped posts that are surgically inserted into the bone to help replace missing teeth. As the bone grows to the implant over an average of three months, they can provide a sturdy, long-lasting option to replace missing teeth.
Dental implants are typically made from titanium or titanium alloys which allow for bone to grow to their surfaces. Implants can also be made from ceramic materials if someone is adverse to metal. Dental implants provide a predictable option to replace missing teeth as it avoids having to use any teeth for restorative purposes, is not susceptible to decay, and is able to withstand chewing and functioning forces that the natural teeth may not. Dental implants are surgically placed into the bone using surgical burs that specifically shape the bone to the same diameter and length of the implant itself. Once it is healed, a post or abutment is attached to the implant that will hold the tooth restoration in place. These restorations can be designed to be retrievable if needed for repair, but are intended to be permanent restorations. On average, from the time the implant is placed, it takes four months to get the final tooth restoration. Options are available to temporarily replace teeth during the healing and fabrication phase. People who have diabetes, take bisphosphonate medications, or smoke regularly are at higher risk for implants to fail or not integrate into the bone. With these conditions, the patient must work closely with the dental professional to reduce the risks.
If you are missing a tooth or are about to lose a tooth and are considering an implant, please reach out to your dental professional quickly as the amount and quality of the bone needed for implants can diminish over time.