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What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a prosthesis used to replace the roots of damaged or missing teeth. Typically, dental implants are titanium fixtures inserted into the jawbone or underneath the gumline, upon which the dentist can apply a fixed bridge, single crown or cap, and either complete or partial dentures, depending on what the patient's implant needs dictate.

With that in mind, orthodontic surgery is required for a dental implant procedure that occurs in multiple stages. Those stages typically involve all or some of the following:

- Removal of the damaged tooth.

- Jawbone grafting, if the patient lacks sufficient bone mass to receive implants.

- Placement of the dental implant.

- Healing and integration of the bone and implant.

- Installing an abutment to set the bridge, crown, or dentures upon.

- Placement of the artificial tooth (i.e., bridge, crown, or dentures).

Since a dental implant procedure requires the bone and gums to heal after the implant is installed, the entire process can take several months to complete.