Dental implants are a great option to replace a single missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. Implants are also routinely used to provide greatly improved retention and support to both upper and lower dentures. The process involves placing a titanium post (implant) into the bone to act like a tooth root. This post is subsequently allowed to fuse (osseointegrate) with the bone. Attachments and/or crowns are then connected to the posts. The end result is an implant-supported crown or fixed bridge that looks just like the natural tooth or teeth it replaces. This implant-supported crown or bridge will also function like your own teeth and is oftentimes the best tooth-replacement option to provide optimal patient comfort and esthetics.
An implant to replace a single missing tooth is also a much more conservative approach especially when the two adjacent teeth to the missing tooth do not require crowns. In such cases, sufficient tooth structure of these adjacent intact teeth would need to be removed to replace the missing tooth with a bridge. When implants are used in conjunction with dentures, the end result is much-improved patient comfort due to a reduction in denture material, no need for denture adhesives, and improved ability to chew. Implants are also important for preserving the remaining denture-supporting ridge of the jaws. Without implants, the dental ridges lose bone volume through a process called bone resorption due to the denture placing pressure on the ridge during wear and function. Implants support the forces of the denture on the ridges and halt bone loss. Implant-supported dentures are also routinely used to help patients who have a strong gag reflex to wear dentures comfortably.