A dental implant (also known as an endosseous implant or fixture) is a surgical component that interfaces with the bone of to support a crown, bridge or denture.
The implant fixture is first placed, so that it is likely to osseointegrate, then a dental prosthetic is added. A variable amount of healing time is required for osseointegration before either the dental prosthetic (a tooth, bridge or denture) is attached to the implant.
Success or failure of implants depends on the health of the person receiving it, drugs which impact the chances of osseointegration and the health of the tissues in the mouth. The amount of stress that will be put on the implant and fixture during normal function is also evaluated. Planning the position and number of implants is key to the long-term health; the position of implants is determined by the position and angle of adjacent teeth, lab simulations or by using computed tomography with CAD/CAM simulations and surgical guides called stents.
The prerequisites to long-term success of osseointegrated dental implants are healthy bone and gingiva.
The final prosthetic can be either fixed, where a person cannot remove the denture or teeth from their mouth or removable, where they can remove the prosthetic. In each case an abutment is attached to the implant fixture. Where the prosthetic is fixed, the crown, bridge or denture is fixed to the abutment with either lag-screws or cement. Where the prosthetic is removable, a corresponding adapter is placed in the prosthetic so that the two pieces can be secured together.
Your dentist will discuss the pro's and cons of Dental implants with you and together discuss if they are a suitable replacement option.