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What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is an artificial replacement of the root of the tooth and is used in prosthetic dentistry as a means of supporting restorations that act as teeth. Dental implants are drilled into the jawbone of the patient’s mouth and function as the root of the patient’s tooth. Surprisingly, dental implants have actually been around for many years. Dental Implants date as far back as the Mayan civilisation, 1,350 years ago. However, the use of titanium was only discovered in the 1950s, and in 1969 a US Patent was filled for titanium dental implants. Titanium has a unique property that, unlike most foreign substances, the body does not reject it. When the titanium implant is placed into the mouth, the organism adopts it as its own by actually growing bone around it so that it effectively adheres to the titanium. This is called osseointegration.

A dental implant looks a bit like a screw and can be implanted into the bone of the jaw at the same time as the natural tooth is removed by placing the implant into the socket wall. Dental Implants should be placed by a dental specialist who has had formal postgraduate training in dental implant dentistry. If the dentist has not received sufficient training, complications could arise. A prosthodontist and oral maxillofacial surgeon are highly trained experts in dental implantology and should be your number one port of call for carrying out the dental implant procedure.

X-Ray of a dental Implant

As you can see from this X-ray of a dental implant, the implant fits firmly into the jaw bone.

Titanium Dental Implant

Resembles a screw

There are several types of dental implants used, depending on the tooth that needs to be replaced. Here are four types of titanium implants.

Dental Implant in Jaw Bone

Similar to the root of the tooth

The dental implant is drilled into the patients jaw bone, and sits just like the root of the tooth.

Prosthetic Tooth over Dental Implant

Cross Section of Dental Implant

As you can see, there is no distinction between the prosthetic tooth and the patient’s natural teeth. The prosthetic tooth looks, feels, and functions as a normal tooth. The prosthetic tooth is firmly held in place by the dental implant which acts as the root of the tooth.

About the Author

Dr. Shlosberg received his dental training in England and maintained a private practice in London’s West End before continuing his training at the University of Indiana where he specialized in Prosthodontics. He was appointed to full time academic positions in restorative dentistry at Harvard University School of Dentistry, Boston and the University of Southern California over the subsequent eight years. Dr. Shlosberg’s private practice in Beverly Hills is devoted solely to prosthodontics and implant dentistry, focusing on planning, placing, restoring and maintaining dental implants. He has been exclusively in Beverly Hills prosthodontic practice for over ten years.

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