Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements used to counter tooth loss. The procedure is categorized as a form of prosthetic (artificial replacement) dentistry, though it also falls into the category of cosmetic dentistry as well.
A dental implant is made of three parts: the implant, the abutment, and the crown. The implant is made of titanium, has a surface characteristic similar to a screw, and is placed into the bone. The abutment fits into the implant via a male adaptation on one side. The other side of the abutment houses the crown. All three parts can be screwed together for a strong restoration. Sometimes only the abutment and implant are screwed together and then the crown is cemented onto the abutment on the opposite side from the implant. These two options are dependent on angulation and will be determined at the time of restoration.
Dental implants are stronger and more durable than their restorative counterparts (bridges and dentures). Implants offer a permanent solution to tooth loss. Additionally, implants may be used in conjunction with other restorative procedures for maximum effectiveness. For example, a single implant can serve to support a crown replacing a single missing tooth. Implants can also be used to support a dental bridge for the replacement of multiple missing teeth, and can be used with dentures to increase stability and reduce gum tissue irritation.