One of the most significant improvements in dentistry in the last 20 years has been the increasing use of dental implants. They allow a single missing tooth to be replaced without involving any of the surrounding teeth, unlike a bridge which involves the adjacent teeth. Dental implants are comprised of a titanium post which is then implanted into the jaw, usually by an oral surgeon. The post then integrates with the jaw bone for at least 3-6 months. You will then complete the dental implant process by returning to your general dentist for a crown. Not all patients are good candidates for dental implants. The first step is an evaluation to determine if you have enough bone to adequately support a dental implant. In some cases bone can be implanted prior to placing the dental implant post. While this lengthens the process it will increase the chance for the dental implant to properly integrate with the bone. Another factor to consider it the health of the patient. Chronic illness and tobacco use will decrease the success of placing a dental implant. Finally, cost is an important consideration for many patients. While a few dental insurance plans will now cover some portion of the implant crown, the surgical process is usually an out of pocket expense. Consult your general dentist to determine if dental implants are a viable option for you.