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A dental implant is an artificial tooth root replacement and is used in prosthetic dentietry. There are several types. The most widely accepted and successful is the osseointegrated implant, based on the discovery by Professor Per-Ingvar Branemark that titanium could be successfully incorporated into bone when osteoblasts grow on and into the rough surface of the implanted titanium. This forms a structural and functional connection between the living bone and the implant. A variation on the implant procedure is the implant-supported bridge, or implant-supported denture.

A typical implant consists of a titanium screw, with a roughened surface. This surface is treated either by plasma spraying, etching or sandblasting to increase the integration potential of the implant. At edentulous (without teeth) jaw sites, a pilot hole is bored into the recipient bone, taking care to avoid vital structures (in particular the inferior alveolar nerve within the mandible).

An increasingly common strategy to preserve bone and reduce treatment times includes the placement of a dental implant into a recent extraction site. In addition, immediate loading is becoming more common as success rates for this procedure are now acceptable. This can cut months off of the treatment time and in some cases a prosthetic tooth can be attached to the implants at the same time as the surgery to place the dental implants.
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