When people lose or break their teeth, these teeth may be replaced with implants. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically anchored to the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. One of the major benefits of implants is that they do not need to rely on neighboring teeth for support and they are permanent and stable. Implants are the best solution for tooth loss because they look and feel like natural teeth.
The use of dental implants has changed the lives of many people who didn't wear their dentures for the simple fact that they didn't stay in place. Denture stabilization through implants restores proper chewing, allowing a better diet and improved health.
Along with appearance, any missing tooth may affect the health of your mouth and the way the rest of your teeth fit together. Missing teeth can cause other teeth to move around in ways that we do not want. When a tooth is lost, the bone that used to support that tooth starts to disintegrate. Without a tooth root to give the jaw bone a purpose in that area, the bone deteriorates. When teeth are lost, replacements are essential for the continuing health and youthful appearance of the mouth and face.
A dental implant recreates the anatomy and function of a natural tooth. It is composed of three parts: the titanium post that fuses with the jawbone; the abutment, which fits over the portion of the implant and is the portion that protrudes from the gum line; and the crown, which is custom fabricated and fitted onto the abutment for a natural appearance. Implants can replace a single missing tooth or they can be used to support bridges, partials and complete dentures. Having an implant contributes to bone longevity. An implant that integrates into the bone provides the stimulus that is needed to stop further bone loss as well as premature facial aging.
A surgical procedure is needed to place the implant's post in the jaw. It can take from 4 to 6 months for the jaw bone to grow around the anchor post and hold it firmly in place. This process is called "osseointegration". In most cases, you would wear a temporary tooth or teeth until the healing is complete. Once the implant is stable and the gums have healed, the dentist makes the permanent crown or crowns and fits them to the abutments that are connected to the posts.
When an implant integrates, or becomes a part of the bony structure of the mouth, it can last indefinitely. However, as with any type of dental replacement, the longevity of an implant and any restoration placed upon the implant depends greatly on the home care by the patient. Regular and frequent check-ups in addition to special maintenance by the dentist and hygienist are also required.
Because implants require surgery, patients must be in good health and have adequate bone structure to support the implants. While lack of adequate bone support is a limitation, additional procedures may be available to create a good implant site. The success rate for implants decreases for those who suffer from chronic problems such as clenching, grinding or systemic diseases, such as diabetes. People who smoke may not be good candidates for implants.
The staff at Drakeshire Dental will be happy to answer any questions you have about implants. Come and visit us for a complimentary consultation with our doctors. More and more dental insurance plans are including implants as covered services.