What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is an artificial replacement for the root part of a tooth. An implant takes the form of a small metal post which is screw or cylinder shaped and is usually made of titanium.

Titanium is the most popular material used as this works well with living bone and tissue with living bone and tissue, without any risk of rejection or inflammation.

Other materials can be used which include titanium alloy, stainless steel and zirconium.

The implant is inserted into your jawbone and allowed time to fuse with the bone in a process called ‘osseointegration’. Once this has happened, a replacement tooth called a restoration can be fitted to it via a small attachment.

Implants can be placed in either your upper or lower jaw and can hold several teeth in place at once.

An implant is seen as a prosthetic replacement for the problem of missing teeth although it also falls into the cosmetic dentistry category.

There are two types of implant:

  • Endosteal (‘Root Form’)
  • Subperiosteal

The subperiosteal implant usually takes the form of a metal framework which is placed onto the jawbone just underneath the gums. This framework has small metal posts which protrude through the gums. These enable the attachment of replacement teeth. This type of implant is less commonly used.

The ‘Root Form’ implant is the most popular type of implant and is inserted into the jawbone.

Most patients are suitable for a dental implant although there are exceptions. Mini dental implants are a good choice for those patients who for a variety of reasons are unable to have the conventional type of implant.

Visit the mini dental implants section for further information.

Dental Implant Guide Index:

Guide to dental implants

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