Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces tooth roots with metal, screwlike posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial ones that look and function like real ones.
Dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone, where they serve as the roots of missing teeth. Because the titanium in the implants fuses with the jawbone, the implants won't slip or cause bone damage the way fixed bridgework or dentures might. And the materials can't decay like on own teeth that support regular bridgework.
Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient surgery performed in stages, with healing time between procedures. The process of placing a dental implant involves multiple steps, including damaged tooth removal, jawbone preparation (grafting) when needed, dental implant placement, bone growth and healing, abutment placement and artificial tooth placement.
The entire process can take many months from start to finish. Much of that time is devoted to healing and waiting for the growth of new bone in the jaw.
Dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime. The implant screw itself can last a lifetime, assuming the patient receives regular dental check-ups every 6 months. The crown, however, usually lasts about 10 to 15 years before it may need a replacement due to wear and tear.