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What is a Dental Implant?

Smiling man outdoors

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or any other reason.

An implant post is surgically placed into the jawbone where it replaces the natural tooth root. In a few months, the dental implant securely bonds to the bone (through a process called “osseointegration”), allowing it to withstand the biting and chewing forces just like a healthy, natural tooth. At this point, the biocompatible titanium screw can be topped with a dental crown, bridge or denture to complete the smile.

Types of Dental Implants

Model of implant supported dental crown

Endosteal (in the bone): This is the most commonly used type of implant. The various types include screws, cylinders, or blades that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. This type of implant is generally used as an upgrade for patients with bridges or removable dentures.

Subperiosteal (on the bone): These are placed on top of the jawbone with the posts slightly protruding through the gum to hold the replacement teeth. These types of implants are used for patients who are unable to wear conventional dentures and have thin or weak jawbones.