A missing tooth (or missing teeth) can make even the most confident person self-conscious and unwilling to smile. In addition, missing teeth can lead to oral health issues, such as bone loss and the movement and loosening of remaining teeth. Dental implants are an effective and popular way to replace missing teeth for both health and cosmetic reasons. They are designed to naturally blend in with existing teeth and offer stability and comfort.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial replacement for a natural tooth root. This “post” or “anchor” is made of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. The implant is surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, and then a dental crown (prosthetic tooth) is attached to the post above the gum line. The result is a stable base for a permanent replacement tooth that matches the shape, size and color of the remaining natural teeth. The entire dental implant process may be done in one office visit, or it may take several months from the implant being placed to the attachment of the crown. The timeframe will depend on the individual circumstances of the patient.
Why Choose Implants?
Unlike removable dentures, implants are permanently fixed in place so they don’t move around when a person eats and speaks. Also, over time, the bone that supports the denture can shrink, causing discomfort. Dental implants can also be a better alternative to fixed bridges, especially when the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth are healthy and free of decay. Typically, crowns must be placed on adjacent teeth, even if they are healthy, in order for the fixed bridge to be created.
Who Can Benefit from Dental Implants?
While dental implants are an excellent option for many patients, there are several factors to consider before beginning the process. Patients must be in good overall health, have healthy gums and adequate bone to support an implant. In addition, patients must be committed to maintaining good oral health and scheduling regular dental visits. Patients are encouraged to discuss all aspects of the dental implant process with their dentist to see if this safe and effective method of tooth replacement can help them regain their oral health, their confidence and their smile.