What is a Dental Implant?
DentureCare and Implant Solutions – Rocky Mount NC
A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically implanted into the bone of the jaw (endosteal) and allowed to heal & fuse with the bone. The purpose of the implant is to provide support, stability, and retention for dental restorations (denture, cap, etc.) Once fused to the bone the implant is then connected to a dental restoration in the mouth via a connector piece called an abutment. The majority of modern implants are called root-form, which means they are shaped like the root of a natural tooth, and they basically function like a tooth root. Once in the bone they replace the function of the natural tooth root, stimulating the bone which is how they help prevent bone loss. The implants are placed strategically to provide the most support and best mechanics. A great way to think of it is like a fence post embedded in the ground to stabilize/hold down a fence.
The larger the size (diameter, length, etc) the implant, the more in contact it is with bone and the sturdier it is. However, sometimes a person has lost too much bone, and there is not enough bone support to place the implants. In these cases additional procedures may be necessary to build up the bone support, which is called bone grafting. Other procedures may be necessary in order to accomplish the most ideal implant placement, healing, and esthetic and functional result of prosthesis. This is why the longer you wait after tooth loss, the more expensive it will cost to treat, the longer it will take, and the less predictable it will be. These things can be discussed in depth with your dentist at your consultation.