Dental implants are generally made from titanium, and they are by far the best option for replacing a missing tooth. No other tooth replacement option so closely mimics the look, feel, and function of your natural teeth.
In order to have a dental implant placed, one or more surgeries is required. For a two-stage dental implant, the first surgery begins by the dentist making an incision in the gum tissue at the point where you missing tooth was located. Once the gum tissue has been pulled back, the dentist will drill a hole into your jawbone. The titanium implant post is then placed deep into your jawbone and the gums are closed over it. The implant will remain covered for about three to six months. During that time, the implant will osseointegrate with the jawbone. Titanium is one of the only metals able to fuse with the bone in this way. Once it has fused with the bone, the second surgery will start with the gum being cut back open. A piece called an abutment will be attached to the implant post and the gum will be closed around, but not over the implant. After a few more months, the implant will be fit with a dental crown. For a one-stage dental implant, the abutment is already attached, so only one surgery is required before the crown is placed.
The best candidates for dental implants are patients who are in good health and have healthy gum tissue. Uncontrolled gum tissue may prevent you from having an implant placed. Likewise, diabetes, cancer, smoking, and alcoholism may also prevent your candidacy. These issues affect the healing process and do not allow the implant to fuse with the bone properly. In healthy patients, implants have an 80%-95% success rate.