Implants have dramatically changed dentistry. In the past, to replace missing teeth, either two teeth would need to be crowned to support a crown replacing the missing tooth or a removable partial denture had to be made. Both of these options have served patients well and are still being used, but now a missing tooth can be replaced without drilling adjacent teeth and without using a removable appliance that is bulkier than natural teeth.
Implants are titanium screws, coated with a “biomaterial,” that bone grows into, creating a solid anchor to which a crown is attached. Often bone needs to be grafted into an area to give an implant an adequate boney foundation before or when the implant is placed.
In addition to not requiring drilling on existing teeth and being more comfortable than a removable appliance, implants help to maintain bone in the jaw. After a tooth is removed, the bone that supported the tooth resorbs or breaksdown; however, an implant supported crown actually stimulates and stabilizes the bone and keeps it from resorbing.