Dental implants are permanent tooth replacement options for patients missing one, some or all of their teeth. Dental implants were introduced in the 1980’s as an evolution from orthopedic use in joint surgery. Today, they are the #1 option for tooth replacement due to the success rate and predictability of reaching proper function and esthetics compared to natural tooth bridge and denture options. Implants provide advantages over these other options. Implants preserve adjacent tooth structure, underlying bone, and proper biomechanics of the bite. They are permanent, do not require removal, and are more esthetic. According to systematic reviews, success rates of implants over the lifetime average in the mid to high ninetieth percentile whereas the five year success rate of bridges are in the seventieth percentile.
Dental implants are composed of three parts. The implant itself is a titanium alloy screw that is placed into the jaw by a surgeon. After healing, the implant crown is screwed or cemented into the implant via an abutment by the general dentist. Implants are taken care just like natural teeth and require normal brushing and flossing. Just like tooth crowns, the implant crowns are made to fit with individualized color and contour. They function and appear like natural teeth and if taken care of properly, implants can be kept for a lifetime in healthy individuals. Ask your periodontist if you are a candidate for implants and if they are right for you!