Dental implants are used to replace missing roots and support replacement teeth, which may be fixed to the implant(s). Or you may be able to take them out yourself.
Implants are not for everyone. You must be in good general health, have healthy gums and enough bone in your jaw to support the implant(s). You must be willing to see your dentist or dental specialist several times until the work is done, and take very good care of your implant(s). In addition, implants can cost more than other kinds of replacement teeth.
It's normal for bone to shrink if it no longer has teeth to support. Because an implant sticks to bone, the bone is less likely to shrink. But if you have been missing teeth for some time, you may have lost bone. A bone graft can build up the bone so it can support an implant. When a bone graft is done, bone is added to the area where your jawbone has shrunk.
Here's how an implant is done:
Step 1: Your dentist, oral surgeon or periodontist will put a small metal post into your jawbone.
Step 2: Over time, the post will bond with the bone around it.
Step 3: The post (or implant) will act like an anchor to hold one or more false teeth in place.
Because implants stick to the bone, false teeth attached to implants look and act much like natural teeth. But implants are not as strong as natural teeth. You must brush and floss your implant(s) very carefully. Be gentle, but make sure you brush all sides of your implant(s). A toothbrush that has longer bristles at the tip may help clean behind your implant(s).
Floss very carefully at least once a day. You will need to be gentle with the floss where the implant meets the gum (called the gumline). You may find a floss threader useful for cleaning this area.