A dental implant is an option to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium cylinder is surgically implanted into the bone. The bone grows around the implant forming a tight connection known as osseointegration. Once the implant is osseointegrated, the dentist then attaches the replacement tooth onto the top of the cylinder. This treatment is excellent for replacing a single missing tooth because the adjacent teeth need not be crowned as is the case for conventional bridge work.
Implants can also be used as supports for a bridge as an alternative to partial dentures. There are several advantages to using dental implants. Becasue no part of the bridge presses directly on the tissue, there is no adjustment period for the patient. When the bridge is placed, it feels and functions like natural teeth. Unlike complete or partial dentures, implant bridges are fixed in the mouth.
Mini dental implants are also available for patients with severe bone loss. These implants are about half the diameter of traditional implants are used mainly to stabilize lower dentures. The cost is less than conventional dental implants.