Losing teeth is devastating because it affects nearly every part of our daily lives. Tooth loss negatively impacts our self-esteem and confidence along with our oral health. Tooth replacement options like dentures and bridges have limitations. As bone deteriorates, these prosthetics might require replacement because they will no longer fit properly. Moreover, special cleansing devices and solutions are required for daily cleaning. When it comes to having durable and lifelike replacement teeth, nothing compares to dental implants. The prosthetics address the loss of all a tooth’s structure with biocompatible titanium components that hold restorations like crowns or bridges.
How Dental Implants Work
A dental implant is a screw-like prosthetic made from titanium. It is embedded into the jawbone and once it is stabilized by bone, it will function like a tooth’s root. Since bone fuses to and around the implant, it will be able to hold restorations and prosthetics, drawing on support from oral structures below the gums. Dental implants can range in width, some are only a few millimeters wide while others are a little wider in diameter. Wider dental implants are used for single tooth replacement while a series of smaller ones can be used to support a full arch of prosthetic teeth.
Single Tooth Replacement
Most people are familiar with dental implants being used to replace one missing tooth. This is done by using a conventional-sized dental implant. The implant is embedded into the jaw through a surgical procedure. After implantation, patients will begin a recovery phase of treatment where the implant is monitored over time with checkups and X-rays. This period is important because the process of bone fusing to the implant is required to stabilize the titanium prosthetic. After bone fuses to the implant, a permanent restoration is attached to it. The restoration can be made from various materials including metals like gold and more natural options like porcelain. Restorations are tooth shaped and provide the surfaces necessary to support adjacent teeth and chew food.
Implant Supported Dentures
If a patient has suffered with total or near total tooth loss, implant supported dentures are likely the best option for restoring appearance and increasing oral function. Conventional dentures have limited abilities to increase oral function long term because they rest on top of the gums and because tooth loss affects bone health. By anchoring dentures to implants, patients can enjoy more stability when eating and speaking. Implants will also keep the jaw active, therefore preventing bone deterioration – a natural process that affects those with missing teeth. Bone atrophy is one of the main reasons that dentures will fit improperly over time.
You don’t have to suffer with missing teeth and ill fitting prosthetics. If you are interested in learning more about dental implants, call us to reserve a consultation with our caring and experienced dentist.
Dental implants are titanium prosthetics that hold restorations like crowns and bridges or replacement teeth like dentures. Since they are composed of titanium, they are biocompatible. This means that bone can fuse to their structure through a process called osseointegration. Bone fusing to titanium keeps dental implants in place and offers support so that they can hold prosthetics and restorations properly. A dental implant can be compared to a tooth’s root in the way it functions. After a restoration or prosthetic is attached to implants, the smile restoration process is complete.
Yes, dental implants do prevent bone loss. The atrophy of bone occurs when teeth are missing because their roots can no longer keep bone active. Once implants are stabilized by bone, they will keep bone stimulated, thus preventing tissue deterioration.
In most cases, candidate for dental implants should have adequate bone to support them along with generally good oral health. Ideally, those interested in dental implants should not have a history of aggressive periodontal disease. To determine if you are a candidate for implants, it is best to consult with our dentist. After a physical examination that includes X-rays, we can see if this tooth replacement option is best for your needs.
The costs associated with dental implants can vary. If you have dental insurance, your policy might offset out-of-pocket expenses. Beyond insurance coverage, costs can vary depending on whether patients need particular treatment before receiving an implant and the type of restoration or prosthetics used to complete the smile restoration process as the costs of materials fluctuate. For approximate estimates, talk with our front desk staff after your tooth replacement consultation.
Dental implants and bridges are common methods for replacing lost teeth. While they can both improve oral function and complete a smile affected by tooth loss, there is one major difference between the two. Dental implants, unlike bridges, restore tooth structure below the gums. An implant will function like the root of a tooth whereas a bridge rests on top of the gums and connects to existing teeth on each side. While implants are not right for everyone, they do prevent bone atrophy and provide unprecedented stability.
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