A dental implant is nothing more than a metal screw that is placed into the jaw bone. It acts as an anchor for a false tooth or a set of false teeth. The slide to the left shows the replacement of a lateral incisor with a dental implant retained restoration. When a dental implant restoration is perfectly constructed, neither the patient or anyone else should have any hint that an implant is there... All people should see is the "tooth" If you role the mouse over the picture, you will see where the implant is...
Anyone in reasonable health who wants to replace missing teeth. You must have enough bone in the area of the missing teeth to provide for the anchorage of the implants. Some people are missing all their teeth and most of those are excellent candidates for dental implants, but today, we use implants to replace small bridges, removable partial dentures and even missing single teeth. If a patient does not have enough bone to support a dental implant, bone grafts can be placed.
The question is really who should you see about getting missing teeth replaced? Before implants, you went to either your general dentist or, if you wanted a specialist, to a prosthodontist. It's the same today. If you want to replace missing teeth, talk to the people who do that job and they will be glad to discuss the use of dental implants in that process. If you decide that dental implants are for you, then your general dentist or prosthodontist can either place the implants for you or refer you to a qualified surgeon, usually either an oral surgeon or a periodontist, for that phase of the treatment.
My suggestion is to stay away from dentists who call themselves "Implantologists" or say that they are specialists in Implantology or "Board Certified" in Implantology. See the next page to understand why. . .
As our life span increases, the need for some type of permanent dental replacement system becomes very important to our overall health. Dentures and removable bridges have obvious problems: They are loose and unstable. Implants can provide people with dental replacements that are both functional and esthetic. The demand was always there, we just needed the tools to fulfill that demand.