dentist examining female patient while dental hygienist reviews x-rays

What is a Dental Implant?

You may have been hearing a lot about dental implants. They’re an effective, permanent solution to missing or damaged teeth. And, like your natural teeth, dental implants are durable and long-lasting. With good oral care, they’ll last a lifetime, because they’re directly fused to your jawbone. Implants replace your tooth root as well as your external, visible tooth, and they also benefit you by strengthening your jawbone as well as the bone surrounding it. 

Are All Implants Alike?

There are a variety of implant types. Each type is designed for a specific purpose, whether it's to replace a number of teeth or replace just one tooth that’s missing.

Regardless of the type, all implants have three separate elements. These are:

  • An artificial tooth root which acts as a base for the artificial replacement tooth
  • A metal frame attached to that root holding the artificial tooth
  • The artificial tooth in missing teeth 

Implants are designed to fully support and enhance the health of your jawbone and your other teeth. They do not need special cleaning or other maintenance. Instead, you’ll just treat your implants like your natural teeth. And, of course, unlike dentures, you can eat anything you like without worrying that they will shift, move, or come out. Implants can even improve the clearness of your speech, as well. 

Caring for your implants is easy: simply use the same good oral care you practice for your natural teeth. Be sure to:

Different Types of Implants

There are four main implant types including: 

  • Single Tooth 
  • Implant Supported Bridges
  • Implant Supported Dentures
  • Full Arch on 4 Implants

Single Tooth Implants

The most typical type of implant is a single tooth implant. Like all implants, it consists of three components: the implant or metal post that is inserted in the jawbone; the abutment or metal frame; and the crown - the external tooth that the abutment anchors. 

The metal post is inserted surgically into the jawbone, so that the implant replaces a missing tooth – without causing damage to surrounding teeth. Once completed, the single implanted tooth is just like a natural tooth in both appearance and function.

Implant Supported Bridges

Do you have three or more teeth that are missing, but adjacent? Then an implant-supported bridge works well to replace them.

The implants themselves are inserted to replace the two outer missing teeth. Then a porcelain bridge covers the gap between them. Implant supported bridges don’t damage any surrounding healthy teeth. It’s worth noting that traditional bridges can damage surrounding teeth.  

Implant Supported Dentures

Instead of removable dentures, implant supported partial dentures can be used. These dentures also use two dental implants for support; however, a full dental arch requires a minimum of four implants. Either way, dentures themselves are either placed permanently in the mouth or they can be inserted instead as removable, snap-on, dentures.

Anchored by those durable metal implants, implant supported dentures don’t require the adhesives of regular dentures, and they’re both more comfortable and functional, too.

Full Arch on 4 Implants

If you’re missing all teeth as an upper or lower arch, these implants are used as anchors to support a full replacement arch. Using only four implants, full arch implants are durable, functional, and highly supportive of your jawbone, maximizing the bone that is available to prevent the need for a bone graft. 


Once the implant posts are in position, artificial teeth are attached to them for the ultimate in comfort and functionality - instead of dentures.

Are You Ready to Learn More about Implants?

Implants are permanent, highly functional, and attractive, making them an excellent choice to replace any missing or damaged teeth. If you’re ready to learn more about implants, or to schedule an appointment, reach out to us today!