Losing a tooth to dental decay, gum disease or injury can happen. However, in order to avoid causing problems for the adjacent teeth and your overall health, it is important to replace the tooth that has been lost. This can be done a number of ways, including fixed bridges, removable partial, dentures as well as a procedure called dental implants.
A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you'll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown and both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace the tooth, the surgeon first replaces the root with a dental implant.
Time is allowed for the bone to heal and grow around the dental implant. This creates a bond between the implant and the bone, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. A supportive post (abutment) is then placed on the implant and a new replacement tooth (crown) is placed on top of the abutment. If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options are available to support the replacement teeth.