In the past, missing teeth had to be addressed with such solutions as bridges and dentures that sat on top of the gums. A large problem of this is the instability of these structures and also that, when a tooth is lost, jaw bone density decreases as well, negatively affecting the jaw’s overall functionality and visual contours.
Dental implants provide a much more natural and permanent solution as the implant not only anchors directly to the jaw bone, but is also natural in appearance and does not place any strain on surrounding teeth, unlike older types of bridges. In fact, today, dental implants are also used in conjunction with bridge and denture applications and have a 95% success rate.
What is a Dental Implant?
The dental implant itself is a small titanium screw-like cylinder that is fused to the bone. After a few months of healing and fusing, the implant is then completed by the addition of a dental crown or an even more complex solution like a bridge or a full set of dentures! One implant can be used to support more than one replacement tooth – they are very adaptive and efficient.
The result is a virtually permanent solution that is strong enough to process food like a regular tooth and looks like a real tooth, giving the patient a confident, natural-looking smile.
What Maintenance is Required?
Once in place, dental implants require regular maintenance, just like natural teeth, with attention to daily flossing and brushing and regular professional cleanings. Implants can be subject to a bacterial infection called “peri-implantitis”, so proper maintenance can help prevent future damage. Also like natural teeth, dental implants with crowns can receive benefit from the use of a nightguard to help prevent habitual grinding or clenching that may damage the implant over time.
To be a successful candidate for a dental implant, the patient’s jaw must be thick enough and strong enough to support the anchoring and fusing of the implant to the bone. Also, the jaw bone must be fully grown, so implants are not an option for children or adolescents who are still developing.
Overall, dental implants offer the best long-term solution for tooth replacement, providing many advantages to your health and overall-well being and are definitely worthy of consideration as an investment in your long-term oral health.
If you have one or more missing teeth, or are considering options for tooth replacement, please feel free to contact our office so you can discuss your individual needs with our dental staff.