Tooth implants use artificial titanium rods inserted into the jawbone to hold individual permanent replacement teeth in position. Titanium is particularly suitable for this as the metal fuses well with the jawbone, making for a firmly anchored tooth.
Teeth implants are costly compared to dentures, but they are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth, are long lasting, require only the same cleaning required of natural teeth, and the titanium implant prevents misalignment issues that can result for the gap left by a missing tooth.
The tooth implant procedure will require three dental visits.
An initial examination of the mouth using x-rays and CT scans, ascertaining whether there is sufficient bone structure and what the best option is for fitting a new tooth.
The insertion of the titanium implant into the jawbone. This is the longest stage of the procedure.
After waiting a few weeks for the titanium root to fuse with the bone the artificial tooth is permanently attached on top. Compared to the earlier steps this is relatively quick.
There are two types of tooth implant:
Endosteal Implants: These are the more common type, consisting of titanium roots inserted directly into the jawbone. After the surrounding gums have healed and the bone has fused to the titanium (osseointegration) artificial teeth are permanently attached to the root. These implants are of moderate cost and are suitable in any situation where there is sufficient bone in the jaw.
Subperiosteal Implants: Are used in the rarer case where a patient has a significant amount of bone loss in the jaw. A titanium frame is installed between the gum and the jawbone, which fusses to the bone (osseointegration), allowing a permanent tooth to be attached. This is more expensive than Endosteal Implanting, and is only used when required by low bone mass.
Where a large number of teeth require replacing a denture or denture implant may be preferable and more cost effective.