In the past, when a patient had a missing tooth the dentist would replace it with a partial denture, sometimes known as a plate, or with a dental bridge constructed from dental crowns and an artificial tooth attached. These restorations do still exist and are used to some effect but one form of artificial dental substitute is leading the way in terms of realistic treatment and popularity.
Dental implants are relative new comers to the restoration game but they have made quite an impact. The implant itself is a small metal screw, usually made from titanium because it can be used safely in the body. This is drilled directly into the jawbone (providing the bone is of suitable strength and quality, as your dentist for more details). The implant is then left for several weeks or even months in some cases to give it the chance to fuse with the surrounding tissue and bone. Once this process is complete, the implant has effectively become a part of the jawbone and acts as an artificial tooth root. An artificial tooth is then attached to the implant and secured using a screw and post.
This makes the dental implant the only restoration to replace the whole of the tooth form root to tip and gives it its incredible level of solidity and realism. Unlike some other restorations where you have to be careful to watch what you eat in case of damage, a dental implant acts just like a real tooth and does not limit what you can and can’t eat.
It is also possible to have series of mini-implants to act as a base for a set of dentures to clip on and off. Ask your dentist to provide you with more information about how dental implants work and if you could be a suitable candidate.