If you have to have a tooth pulled, you may not want to leave a gap in your smile. There are a number of things that you can do to deal with that gap. One of the things that you can do is to get a dental implant. But, what is a dental implant?
The implant is actually a two-part item. The first part is a post that is inserted into the empty tooth socket. The post is made out of metal, generally something like titanium. Once the post has been inserted, then the second part is placed on top of the post, and that's the tooth, denture, or bridge. The post will act just like the root of your tooth, holding the appliance in place. It can be left on the post all the time, in many situations. No one will know that you have it there except for you and your dentist.
If your tooth is still in place but needs to be removed for the implant, an extraction will take place. You will need to let your dentist do this, or they may send you to an oral surgeon for a more involved extraction. Once the socket has healed, it will be time to start the implant process. Some dentists may choose to start the implantation at the same time, which would minimize your healing time, but if you have had a lot of work done on the extraction, your doctor may want to wait.
The implantation involves the dentist inserting the post down into the bone of your jaw. Because it acts like the root of your tooth, it has to be placed as securely as the root of your tooth would be. After the post has been inserted into the bone, you are going to have to wait for several weeks for the bone to heal. You want the bone to integrate the post as much as possible to form one solid unit so that it doesn't shift around while you are using it. After your dentist confirms that your mouth has healed appropriately, they will then move on to the next step.
If you have to have a tooth removed or you have a tooth that is really damaged, you don't want to get stuck with a gap in your smile. Talk to your dentist about getting a tooth implant.