What is a Dental Implant? - Prof. Howard Gluckman

What is a Dental Implant?

According to sources, thousands of years ago, if you lost a tooth, you would have had the following as your tooth replacements :

  1. Carved Bamboo Pegs – Ancient China
  2. Copper Pegs – Ancient Egypt if you were a deceased king.

Human beings have been innovating ways to replace missing teeth for centuries. This eventually resulted in the creation of the modern dental implant.

In this blog, you will learn what a dental implant is, including its different components. In addition you will learn about the different types of implants dentists use to ensure that a damaged or infected tooth does not rob you of your smile.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a post/root that is surgically positioned into a patient’s jawbone beneath the gums. It is the most advanced solution for addressing tooth loss. Dental implants fuse with the jawbone where they act like natural tooth roots, providing a stable foundation for a replacement crown or bridge or dentures.

Patient with dental implant.

When you lose a tooth, the bone structure around the lost tooth changes. Over the course of time, the bone that supported the tooth is lost. When a dental implant is added to the area, it becomes an integral part of your bone structure as it helps support your replacement tooth.

The Components

A dental implant can be understood as an individual component or a system of parts.

When considered an independent component, a dental implant is a post or screw ( typically made from titanium, titanium alloy or the non-metal zirconium) surgically inserted into your jawbone to secure tooth replacements like individual crowns, dentures and bridges.

When a dentist surgically places your dental implant, it undergoes a process known as osseointegration. During osseointegration, the implant fuses together with your natural bone.

A Dental Implant as a System

Dental Implant components (Original image sourced from imegagen.com)

When considered as a system, a dental implant is made up of the following parts:

  1. The Dental Implant: the post inserted into the gum and jawbone that provides the secure root for artificial teeth or denture.
  2. The Dental Abutment: the part of an implant that connects the implant with the artificial crown, bridge or denture.
  3. The Implant Crown: the finishing touch of implant treatment. This is the outwardly visible part of your implant, that is, the ‘toothy’ aspect of your implant that others can see when you speak or smile.
  4. A Denture: A full denture that is loose can be anchored to the bone via a number of implants usually 4, 6 or 8 implants. This can radically change one’s life as loose dentures can be a nightmare for patients.

Your dental implant is the above components working together with your gums and jawbone to provide anchorage for the natural crown or denture. This system restores both function and aesthetics to the patient.

Thanks to constant research and development, dental implant technology continues to improve, enabling dentists to effectively replace patients’ teeth in an increasingly safe manner and in harmony with their natural physiology.

The Different Types of Dental Implants

Dental implants come in different varieties. The following section will introduce the three main types of dental implants, including their fundamental differences.

Endosteal Implants

These are considered the most common type of dental implant. Endosteal implants are shaped like screws and are placed into the jaw to fuse with the bone. When securely bonded with the jaw, they act as the post to which false teeth can be attached.

Subperiosteal Implants

Unlike endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants rest on top of the bone while still under the gum. These implants are held in place by the gum tissue that heals around them after they have been placed. Typically subperiosteal implants are used when a patient does not have enough jawbone for an endosteal implant or prefers not to undergo intensive oral surgery to replace lost bone to the treatment site.

Zygomatic Implants

Zygomatic Implants are another alternative to endosteal implants. Unlike the latter that are placed in the jawbone, zygomatic implants are placed in a patient’s cheekbone.


As you can see, dental implants have a rich history and play an essential role in dentistry.

Dr Howard Gluckman is a foremost expert in implantology. He has extensive experience in using this advanced tooth replacement solution to restore patients’ confidence in their smiles.

Let’s help you get a fresh lease on life by helping you restore your smile at Enamel Clinic.

Book an appointment with Dr Gluckman today.

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