Implants are metal posts or frames that are surgically placed beneath your gums. After placement, the implants fuse to the bone of your jaw and act as artificial tooth roots. Singular or grouped replacement teeth on a bridge or denture are then mounted to the implant.
One key advantage of implants is that they fuse to the jawbone, offering stable support to artificial teeth. Dentures, bridges or individual teeth mounted to implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth, which is an especially important benefit when eating and speaking. This secure fit also helps replacement teeth feel more natural than conventional bridges or dentures. Some people may find the stability of implant-supported dentures to be more comfortable than removable dentures.
Candidates need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant, and they must commit to keeping these structures healthy. Meticulous oral hygiene and regular dental visits are critical to the long-term success of dental implants. Because implant placement involves more than one oral surgery, candidates must be in overall good health. Certain chronic diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis or chronic sinus problems may interfere with proper healing and could prevent the bone from attaching to the implant. Long-term medication use and certain behaviors, such as smoking, could also affect the stability of the implant over time.
The implant itself is made of metal–usually titanium, which has proven to be very compatible with bone and other tissues. The surfaces of some implants are treated with a substance that helps them adhere to the bone. Just like conventional crowns, bridges or dentures, the replacement teeth mounted on the implants are made of porcelain, porcelain and metal or polymer resin.