For dental implants to be successful, the jawbone must have enough bone to support them. Tooth loss often leads to more loss of bone. The tooth loss may be caused by periodontal (gum) disease, dental caries (cavities) and infection, injury or trauma, or a developmental defect.
Implants are devices that replace the roots of missing teeth. They are used to support crowns, bridges or dentures. Implants are surgically placed in your jawbone.
An implant-supported denture is a type of overdenture that is supported by and attached to implants. A regular denture rests on the gums, and is not supported by implants.
An implant-supported bridge is similar to a regular dental bridge, but it is supported by implants and not by natural teeth. In most cases, when an implant-supported bridge is used, one implant is placed in the jawbone for each missing tooth. Then the crowns are connected to each other to form one piece.
When you get implants, more than one dental professional may treat you. An oral surgeon or a periodontist will place the implants in your jawbone. A prosthodontist or general dentist will make your crowns, bridges or dentures, which will look like natural teeth.
Today, most dental implants are made of titanium. This metal has special qualities that make it useful for implants.