Dental implants have revolutionized the replacement of teeth. Before the development of dental implants, people with dentures were unable to chew many kinds of food; this has all changed with the widespread use of dental implants.
Why Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a titanium screw that fuses with the jawbone. The process of fusing an implant with bone, called osseointegration, involves connecting the implant with a component called an abutment that supports the crown. But what is a dental implant able to do that other teeth-replacement options, such as bridges or dentures, can’t do?
What bridges and dentures fail to account for is the fact that real teeth help to preserve the jawbone while bridges and partial dentures can actually do harm to the rest of your teeth. Fixed bridges require the cutting of good tooth structure from the adjacent teeth, and partial dentures require other teeth to hold them in place. These teeth are severely weakened by the chewing forces on partial dentures.
When an implant replaces a tooth, however, the implant provides stability to the jawbone without damaging teeth. According to the AAID, the long-term success rate for dental implants is 97 percent. Dental implants eliminate the problems associated with other replacement methods, and they allow people to eat anything with confidence. An implant can replace one missing tooth, but as few as four implants can replace all the upper or lower teeth. The number depends on the quality and size of your jawbone. The longer the implant, the fewer implants needed to support the replacement of many teeth. Your replacement teeth will be attached to these implants. Soon, you’ll be able to chew just as you did with your natural teeth.
An implant is placed by first making a slit in the gum tissue over the site of the missing tooth. A preparation is then made in the bone using various sized drills, after which the implant is screwed into the bone before the gum tissue is stitched closed. This procedure can be performed under local anaesthesia or sedation, and it should be a painless operation. The implant must sit for four months before teeth can be placed, but there are some situations in which the implant can be used like a tooth. Successful placement of dental implants requires a team approach from an oral surgeon, who surgically places the implant, and a restorative dentist, who makes the teeth.
Even if you have bone loss from gum disease, there are bone-grafting procedures that can be performed so that implants can be placed. People with existing medical conditions can also have implants if their conditions are controlled. Your family dentist or oral surgeon can evaluate your condition and advise what implant treatment should be used.
If you have dentures or are missing teeth, implants can improve your quality of life and give you confidence when eating or smiling. They are easy to maintain by brushing and flossing, just like your natural teeth. Contact your dentist to discuss your options.