The primary function of a dental implant is to act as an abutment for a prosthetic device, similar to a natural tooth root and crown. Any success criteria, therefore, must include first and foremost support of a functional prosthesis. In addition, although clinical criteria for prosthetic success are beyond the scope of this article, patient satisfaction with the esthetic appearance of the implant restoration is necessary in clinical practice.
The restoring dentist designs and fabricates a prosthesis similar to one supported by a tooth, and as such often evaluates and treats the dental implant similarly to a natural tooth. Yet, fundamental differences in the support system between these entities should be recognized. The purpose of this article is to use a few indices developed for natural teeth as an index that is specific for endosteal root-form implants. This article is also intended to update and upgrade what is purported to be implant success, implant survival, and implant failure. The Health Scale presented in this article was developed and accepted by the International Congress of Oral Implantologists Consensus Conference for Implant Success in Pisa, Italy, October 2007.