Dental implants are surgically fixed substitutes for roots of missing teeth. Embedded in the jawbone, they act as anchors for a replacement tooth, also known as a crown, or a full set of replacement teeth.
The purpose of dental implant surgery is to fix metallic anchors in the jaw bone so that they can receive the replacement teeth and hold them in place. Dental implants should be considered as an option for replacing failing or missing teeth and often provide more predictable results than bridgework, resin bonded bridges, or endodontic treatment.
By replacing a lost tooth with a dental implant, the overall health and function of the surrounding teeth is maintained. The implant can prevent tooth migration and loss of structure and will help avoid loss of bone from the jaw in that area. Further, implants reduce the impact of the lost tooth on surrounding teeth, as traditional bridge structures often require reduction (filing down) of the two flanking teeth to hold the bridge in place with a crown. Implanting avoids such alterations to the surrounding teeth when replacing a lost tooth.