What are Dental implants?
Dental implants are considered by most dentists to be the longest lasting, most durable, and most attractive replacements for missing teeth. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry has stated that implants are the “next best thing to healthy, natural teeth.” Rooted in your jaw, implants are unlikely to need replacement in your lifetime!
The implant itself looks like a small screw, and it functions as the foundation for beautiful dental restorations. Implants securely attach restorations of all sizes to the jaw, from single crowns, to bridges, to dentures. These restorations are generally made from ceramic or another biocompatible material, and are matched to your teeth so they blend right in.
Getting an implant does require an initial surgical procedure, where a hole is made in the jawbone, and the implant is carefully placed. Following this, you will wait a few months while the implant takes hold, and will typically be provided a temporary crown or restoration to fill the gap in the interim. Over time, the bone and tissue build up and anchor the implant in a process called ‘osseointegration.’
Unfortunately, not everyone is a candidate for dental implants. For an implant to take hold, a candidate must have proper bone density and have a strong immune system. In all cases, dental implants require strict oral hygiene and are not recommended for smokers. Like any restoration, implants require diligent oral hygiene and proper care to ensure they last a long time. According to a study by the Academy for Oral Implantology in Austria, however, implants have a 97 percent success rate.
Tooth Replacement Options Using Dental Implants
Implants can replace missing teeth in a variety of ways. They can be used to:
Replace One Tooth — When you have one tooth missing, a single implant is inserted into the bone to replace the root part of that tooth; a crown then goes on top to simulate an actual tooth. This treatment choice has the highest success rate, making it the best long-term investment for replacing a single missing tooth. Even if the initial cost is slightly higher than other options, it is the most cost-effective solution over time. An implant will never decay or need root canal treatment, and feels just like the tooth that was there.
Replace Multiple Teeth — When you have more than one tooth missing, implants provide an ideal replacement mechanism. You don't even need one implant for every missing tooth. Instead, implant teeth can act as supports for fixed bridgework. For example, if you are missing three teeth in a row, we can place two implants, one on either side of the gap, and a crown in between that has no implant underneath. That way, you won't need to use any of your remaining natural teeth as bridge supports, which could weaken them and make them more susceptible to decay.
Replace All Teeth Permanently — Implants can support an entire arch of upper or lower replacement teeth that are fixed into the mouth and are never removed. Sometimes the new teeth can be supported by as few as 4 implants. It's comparable to the structure of a table, which only needs 4 legs to hold it up. In cases where jawbone density and volume have deteriorated, 5 or 6 implants might be needed to support a row of 10 to 12 teeth. Dental implant replacement teeth protect your jawbone, won't slip, and should last a lifetime.
Support Removable Dentures — Implants can even make removable dentures more comfortable, effective and healthier to wear. Traditional dentures rest on the gums and put pressure on the underlying bone. This accelerates bone loss so that the jaw shrinks and the dentures slip, particularly on the bottom. But today dentists can attach a removable denture onto implants, transferring that pressure into the bone structure rather than the bone surface. This prevents the dentures from slipping while you eat and speak, and preserves the bone directly beneath them.
If you want to achieve excellent oral health, renewed confidence, and a perfect smile, call your dentist today to see if dental implants are right for you! The smile you always wanted could be just one phone call away!
Are you interested in top-quality custom dental implants?
Call Elite Smiles in Morrisville, NC today at (919) 388-0137!