Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- What are dental implants?
- When would I need a dental implant?
- What are the different types of dental implants? What are the different uses for implants?
- Will I feel pain when getting a dental implant?
- What is the procedure for getting a dental implant?
- How much does a dental implant cost? Does insurance pay for dental implants?
- What are the potential risks and complications with a dental implant?
- What follow-up care is necessary after getting a dental implant?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What are dental implants?
Dental implants as we know them today were invented in 1952 by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Brånemark. Today, they are considered the standard of care for replacement of missing teeth. Specifically, a dental implant is a surgical fixture that is placed into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over time. The dental implant acts as a replacement for the root of a missing tooth and holds a replacement tooth or bridge. Having a dental implant fused to the jawbone is the closest thing to mimicking a natural tooth because it stands on its own without affecting the adjacent teeth and has great stability. The process of fusion between the dental implant and bone is called "osseointegration." Most dental implants are made of titanium which allows them to integrate with bone without being recognized as a foreign object in our body. Over time, technology and science have progressed to greatly improve the outcomes of dental implant placement. Today, the success rate for dental implants is close to 98%.
When would I need a dental implant?
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or all of the teeth. The goal of replacement of teeth is to restore function and/or esthetics.
In general, the three options for teeth replacement include (1) removable dental appliance (full denture or partial denture), (2) fixed dental bridge, and (3) dental implant. Deciding on which option to choose depends on many factors. Specifically for dental implants, these factors include:
- location of missing tooth or teeth
- quantity and quality of the jawbone where the dental implant is to be placed
- health of the patient
- patient preference
A dental surgeon examines the area to be considered for the dental implant and makes an assessment of whether the patient is a good candidate for this option.
There are many advantages to choosing a dental implant for teeth replacement over the other options. Dental implants are conservative in that missing teeth can be replaced without affecting or altering the adjacent teeth. Furthermore, because dental implants integrate into the bone structure, they are very stable and can have the look and feel of one's own teeth.
Viewers share their comments
WebMD Oral Health
Get tips for a healthy mouth.