Health Library

Dental Implants

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are metal or ceramic artificial tooth roots that are inserted into the upper and lower jaw bones. They can be used to replace individual missing teeth so a bridge or partial denture is not needed. Or, they can be used to support a bridge or denture. Dentures supported by implants have advantages over traditional dentures.

Advantages of implant-supported dentures over traditional dentures

For some people, implants may be a good option to for providing support. This includes those with loose or poor fitting dentures due to flat ridges, or those with multiple missing teeth who need support for crowns and bridges. Implants help:

  • Reduce movement of dentures

  • Allow proper chewing

  • Provide support and improved stability for removable dentures

  • Give the "feel" of natural teeth better than traditional dentures

  • Improve speech and appearance

What does your dentist consider before suggesting implants?

There are many things to think about before getting an implant: 

  • You need a proper diagnosis.

  • You must be healthy.

  • You must have healthy gums and enough bone to support the implant.

  • You must not have certain health conditions that may affect your ability to heal.

  • You must not smoke or drink alcohol.

  • You must be committed to careful oral hygiene and regular dental visits after getting the implants.

What are the different types of dental implants?

The 2 most common types of dental implants in use today are:

  • Endosteal implants (most common). This type of implant is inserted into the jaw bone to serve as the tooth's root and to hold a crown in place.

  • Subperiosteal implants (uncommon). This type of implant, although rarely used may be an option for people who can no longer wear conventional dentures. It involves a lightweight, specially-designed, metal implant that fits directly on the existing bone.

Dental implants may either be inserted by a dentist specially trained in implantology, a periodontist, or by an oral surgeon.

Health risks and dental implants

Implants are made of biologically compatible materials which have undergone extensive testing over a period of several years. Since these materials are largely biocompatible metals, such as titanium, and have never been living tissue, there is very little to no chance of an antigen-antibody response which could cause rejection similar to that which sometimes occurs with organ transplants.

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