Dental implants are essentially replicas of real teeth that serve to replace old teeth. The implant is a fixture that fits directly in the place that the old tooth once was. Through a surgical procedure, the dental implant is a surgical component that is embedded into the jawbone, or skull, to serve as an oral prosthetic, such as a crown, bridge, or denture. There is also a small device called an abutment that separates the dental prosthetic and the implant, and it is simply used to hold the prosthetic in place. Today, modern dentistry is capable, through a biological process, to directly make a structural and functional connection between living bone and the implant. This process is called osseointegration, and it allows the implant and bone to essentially have irreversible contact with one another– meaning that the bone will grow around the implant and firmly support it. Materials like titanium, make it possible for the implant to form a strong and secure bond to the bone, comparable to something like a magnetic force between them. The dental implant first has to go through the osseointegration process before a new tooth, bridge, or denture can be added, because, a set amount of time to heal is necessary after the procedure.

With any kind of surgical operation, the success of it is based around each individual, and the amount of care they give to it. However, obviously if the person neglects to take care of themselves after the procedure, then they will not see the successful results that they had anticipated. Taking health risks such as the consumption of drugs will affect the osseointegration process, and the overall health of the tissue in the mouth. The amount of stress that will be put on the implant is also taken into account, because even simple biomechanical actions such as chewing can put a significant amount of stress on the implant. So, these are different factors that are all taken into account when planning around the procedure. One ultimate determining factor in the long-term success of the dental implant is healthy bone and gingiva, or gum.

The positioning of dental implants is determined by the position and angle of the adjacent teeth. Which is either, determined by lab simulations, or by the use of computed topology, or a CT scan, involving computer-aided technology and surgical guides known as stents. The final prosthetic that the whole implant supports can either be permanently fixed into place, or it can be detachable. Regardless of this, the abutment is permanently attached to the implant fixture, and the prosthetic is fixed to the abutment either with lag screws or with dental cement.

Sometimes there can be certain complications that arise from the dental implant, but they are due to the complications that initially took place during surgery. For instance, complications such as, excessive bleeding or nerve injury, infection or failure in the osseointegration process (which occur in the first six months), peri-implantis, or severe inflammation in the tissue, and mechanical failures (which can occur long-term), can all take place. However, with healthy tissue and proper care, the implant is designed to last for up to 25 years, and can serve as a long-term or permanent teeth replacement solution. However, a crown can last about 10 to 15 years before replacement is required. Nevertheless, the life-span of any type of dental implant is based on good dental hygiene and care.