What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a small titanium screw which is placed into the bone where a tooth is missing to provide the most stable and long-lasting platform for the replacement of the missing teeth. Titanium dental implants were first used thirty years ago. Over that period of time there has been a very large amount of research to show that they work extremely effectively and reliably, and are the best possible replacement for missing teeth.
The main component is the titanium implant itself. This resembles a precisely manufactured screw with a specially roughened surface which makes it very compatible with bone. The implant is about the same size as the root of a natural tooth. It is placed into the bone and left to integrate for 4-6 weeks. By this time it is rock-solid in the bone. There are no problems with the integration of the implant into the bone, because titanium is one of the few materials that can perform osseointegration, whereby the implant is accepted into the bone which fuses around it.
Once the implant is solid in the bone, the second part, a special titanium post, can be screwed into the implant. This is called the abutment.
The pictures above show an implant in place, and then the finished result with the abutment and crown added.