You may have decided that you'd like to replace your missing teeth with dental implants instead of dentures, but aren't sure what is involved. The short answer to that is that it will depend on the current health of the bone into which the implants will be inserted.
Unless your jawbone is healthy, and has not suffered erosion from infection, gum disease, or previous tooth extraction, you will need to have it built up so that it can hold your implants securely. Dental implant bone grafting is a lengthy process, but can usually be done in your dentist's office.
Your dentist will use either "autogenous" bone, taken from your own body, or a synthetic or artificial bone substitute. Cow bone is also used frequently for dental implant bone grafting. The addition of this bone will stimulate your body to build new bone around it, but with some synthetic materials the body does not respond by producing new bone, and the synthetic material does the job of securing the dental implant.