What are dental implants?
Implant dentistry has become the preferred choice of treatment for replacing one or more missing teeth. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is implanted into the jawbone acting as an anchor for supporting a replacement tooth. Dental implants consist of three parts, which include the titanium implant that is inserted into the jawbone, an abutment that connects to the implant and an artificial tooth that is placed onto the abutment. Once they are implanted, they become a permanent fixture that can last a lifetime. Implant dentistry not only offers a natural-look, but also helps to keep teeth healthy that are adjacent to the implant as well as maintain healthy jawbone structures.
Good Candidates for Dental Implants
With advancements in dental implant technology, almost everyone is a good candidate for implants. In the past, the only options for replacing missing teeth were dentures, crowns and bridges, which are often uncomfortable and difficult to maintain. Using dental implants offers the patient a natural-looking tooth that is both comfortable and easy to care for. They can be the right solution for patients who have healthy oral tissues, a jawbone that is fully grown, enough jawbone to securely hold the implant, have one or more missing teeth, are unwilling or unable to wear dentures, want to improve speech and do not have any health conditions that could affect the bone healing process.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Choosing dental implants over dentures, bridges and crowns offers many advantages. Implants can give patients the confidence of stability of the tooth or teeth without the worry of movement, loosening or falling. They also restore proper function so food can be chewed and enjoyed. There are no messy adhesives to deal with and implants provide the best resemblance to natural teeth. Implant dentistry also stops bone loss and shrinking of the jawbone. When teeth are missing, the jawbone loses its bone density causing it to shrink. This can eventually cause the jawbone to become weaker and visibly smaller. Implants work to prevent this by acting like a natural tooth root and tooth. Because of these many benefits, dental implants have become the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth.
The implant dentistry procedure is a surgical procedure that is done under local anesthesia. Once the implant has been inserted into the jawbone, it requires three to six months to heal. During this healing time the implant becomes fused to the bone. Once the healing process has been completed, a minor surgical procedure to expose the top of the implant is done for attaching the abutment (post) to the implant. This will hold the prosthesis. The abutment attachment is sometimes installed at the same time the implant is inserted. After the abutment has been placed, the dentist will take an impression and make the prosthesis, which will then be attached to the abutment, serving as the permanent tooth replacement. The complete procedure does require several visits although the positive results of the implants provide the patient with restoration of the mouth with strong, functional and naturally looking teeth.