Implants are fast becoming the option of choice to replace missing teeth.  They are fixed in place and as opposed to bridges, adjacent teeth do not have to be touched.  Another advantage, is that according to studies, they can last 30 plus years.  The best place for an implant is the lower jaw because the bone is dense and fuses well to the  titanium implant. In the upper jaw, if the sinus is large, a sinus lift may need to be performed to provide more bone for the implant.  These decisions are made on an individual basis with input from both your general dentist and the surgeon placing the implant.


One disadvantage to implants is that the process takes time.  From start to finish it can take up to 9 months.  If a tooth is extracted the surgeon will decide to either immediately place an implant with bone augmentation or wait 6-12 weeks for the bone to heal before placing the implant.  Once the implant is placed, it takes 2-3 months for fusion to occur.  After this period, the surgeon will uncover the implant and check that it is secure.  At this point your general dentist will take an impression just like a regular crown and in 2 weeks a permanent abutment and crown will be cemented in place.
Many times your dentist will recommend that you wear a nightguard to prevent grinding and possible loosening of the implant.
Although the cost of implants may seem high, it is important to realize that this cost is spread out over the 6-9 months and that this option can last 30+ years while a bridge may need to be replaced twice in the same time period.