A dental implant is a small titanium post that is placed in the jawbone to act as a replacement root for a missing tooth.
After the implant is placed, the bone cells surrounding the inserted implant grow, and eventually fuse to the implant surfaces. This anchors the implant firmly in the jaw and makes the implant as strong as a natural tooth root.
Implants are placed to support new replacement teeth, also known as dental restorations. However, the restoration cannot be placed on the top of the implant directly. A second piece, known as an abutment, is secured on top of the implant to act as the attachment point for the new teeth.
Implants with their abutments can support a variety of dental restorations. For an individual missing tooth, the abutment would support a new dental crown. For a series of consecutive missing teeth, two or more implants would be placed and each abutment would support a part of a dental bridge.
Implants can also be placed at strategic points in your dental arch and have special abutments attached to them which will support a full-arch set of new teeth. The new teeth can either be a denture or a dental bridge which spans the entire arch.
A dental implant is the strongest, most lifelike and longest-lasting replacement option for missing teeth. Properly cared for, they can last a lifetime.