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What are Dental Implants? Author: Jim Knight

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that a dentist places into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. It takes the form of a small screw or cylinder which looks like a thin metal rod. This acts as a replacement "root� of a tooth and is able to support a single or several false teeth, known as "restorations". Currently made from titanium, a material that is well tolerated by bone and integrates easily with bone tissue, such an implant can fuse with the bone of the patient's jaw via a healing process called "osseointegration". There are two different types of dental implants available today: * Endosteal (in the bone): This is the most common implant type. The various types include screws, blades and cylinders surgically placed into the jawbone. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. An endosteal implant is generally used as an alternative for patients with bridges or removable dentures. * Subperiosteal (on the bone): This implant is positioned with the metal frameworks posts protruding through the gum to hold the prosthesis. Such implants are used for patients who are unable to wear conventional dentures and who have minimal bone height. Practically all current dental implants are of the root-form endosseous type. In other words, virtually all dental implants in the recent past appear similar to an actual tooth root (and thus possess a "root-form") and are placed within the bone. Before root-form endosseous implants, most implants were either blade endosseous implants, in that the shape of the metal piece placed within the bone resembled a flat blade, or subperiosteal implants, in which a framework was constructed to lie upon and was attached with screws to the exposed bone of the jaws. Traditionally, an implant placed into the bone has a single crown and is know as a "single tooth implant". However, if several teeth are missing, individual implants for individual teeth are not required; one implant can support several teeth via a bridge or denture. The number of implants required depends on the volume and density of bone tissue available at each implant site. Often, smaller-sized "mini implants" are used to keep dentures securitely in place. The dental implant surgical procedure is quite complex and doesn’t come cheap. At the same time, it has proved to be very popular compared to dentures or a bridge. Dental implant surgery also results in natural looking teeth that will last for years as well as

improving individual self-confidence. Most patients express satisfaction with the surgery and treatment. Dental implant success is related to operator skill, quality and quantity of the bone available at the site, and the patient’s oral hygiene. It is generally believed that implants carry a success rate of around 95%. There are many different brands of dental implant such as Nobel Biocare, Intra-Lock and Straumann. As with any industry, marketing plays a big part and all these brands have their advantages and disadvantages. We will examine them in detail in another article. For more information, please visit:

What are Dental Implants?  

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that a dentist places into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. It takes the form of...