Historically, dentures, partial dentures, or bridges would be used in the replacement of missing teeth, sometimes with unsatisfying results.
A dental implant is a small titanium post that acts as the original root structure would for a natural tooth. For a dental implant to be placed, there must be sufficient bone in your upper or lower jaw. After the bone has adhered to the implant (a process known as osseointegration), the doctor can place a crown, bridge, or over-denture, just as the original roots hold natural teeth in place. Implants are very durable and unsusceptible to cavities, often lasting a lifetime with proper care. They require the same care as your natural teeth; this includes daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.
Dental implants can replace a single tooth or a full arch of teeth that have been lost due to injury or disease. Today, titanium or zirconium dental implants are used because of their biocompatibility with bone and oral tissues.