Many people experience tooth loss, mostly due to decay, periodontitis or injury. For many years, the only treatment option available for those with missing teeth was a bridge. However, dental implants are now available and are the best option for replacing a single missing tooth.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are used as a surgical procedure to not only replace the missing crown of the tooth, but also to infuse into the bone and act as a new tooth root. There are three parts to a dental implant:
- Fixture: This is the part of the implant that looks like a screw and is placed into the bone so that bone can integrate into the fixture.
- Abutment: This is the part of the implant that connects to the crown of the tooth.
- Crown: This can be made out of porcelain and matched to your normal tooth color.
A dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth that is surgically anchored into the bone of the maxilla or mandible. The benefit of using an implant is that you don’t need neighboring teeth for support and they are stable and permanent. Implants are a great idea because they look and feel like natural teeth.
How do they work?
They are strategically planned and many radiographs and preparation may be involved to assure accurate placement. An implant can now be used to permanently support cemented bridges, which can eliminate the need for a denture. After the implant is placed into the bone, a few millimeters will still be protruding through the gums; this is known as the abutment and will later become the attachment for the crown to screw onto.
Can anybody receive dental implants?
Talk to your dentist about whether or not you would be a good candidate. There are several contraindications for the placement of an implant. Patients must be in good health and have healthy surrounding bone to insert the implant into. People who have problems with bruxism (grinding), clenching, or an uncontrolled systemic disease such as diabetes or heart disease are not good candidates. Additionally, people who smoke and drink are also not good candidates for an implant.
How long does the process of having an implant take?
It can take up to nine months to complete, although each patient is different and healing times may vary. After the placement of the implant, the healing process takes about six months, after which a crown can be placed on the implant.
What are the advantages?
There are many advantages to getting an implant, including:
- Improved Appearance: They look and feel like your own teeth and because they are fused with your bone, they are permanent.
- Improved Speech: They do not move like a pair of dentures and you never have to worry about your dentures slipping out of your mouth again.
- Durability: With good care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
- Convenience: Dental implants eliminate the embarrassment of taking out a removable denture and eliminate the mess of applying adhesives.
There are many benefits of dental implants and if you are interested, make sure you ask your dentist and schedule an appointment.