Teeth are lost for many reasons including cavities, periodontal disease, and trauma. Traditional dentistry replaced missing teeth using removable devices (partials) or fixed dental bridges. Fixed appliances require destruction of neighboring tooth structure. Implant dentistry provides an option for tooth replacement that does not harm adjacent teeth.
A dental implant is a titanium fixture surgically placed into the jaw bone. After implantation, the fixture must osseointegrate or "fuse" with the surrounding jaw bone. After healing, an implant abutment or "connector" is placed allowing the dentist to fabricate and connect the final crown.
Thorough evaluation is necessary to determine wheter you are a good candidate for dental implant therapy. Many times, implants also require additional bone grafting or sinus elevation procedures.
Implants may be placed to support single tooth crowns, dental bridges, complete dentures, or removable partial dentures. Talk with your doctor to determine which therapy is most appropriate for you. For implants placed within the "smile zone" temporary implant crowns are always recommend. These temporary crowns allow the periodontist to mold the gum tissue to proper form before the final implant crown is fabricated.