For someone missing a single tooth or multiple teeth, there are several options for replacements. Although a dental bridge can replace a single lost tooth, it requires altering healthy, adjacent teeth, so dentists offer a better solution that preserves all remaining teeth: dental implants. Dental implants are less invasive than other replacement options, last longer and have a natural appearance that matches the surrounding teeth, which is why they’re becoming a highly popular choice in tooth replacement.
Dental implant components
Dental implants are a total tooth replacement restoration and consist of three primary components of the post, abutment and restoration (usually a dental crown). The post of the dental implant, normally made of titanium, resembles a screw and integrates into the jawbone through osseointegration to replace the missing tooth root. The dentist attaches the abutment to the post and then places the restoration or dental crown on the abutment.
Reasons dental implants are a good tooth replacement option
There are several benefits dental implants have over tooth replacement options such as traditional removable dentures, partial dentures and dental bridges. These benefits include:
Keep remaining teeth in place – When patients have a missing tooth, the teeth nearby will begin shifting into the space, eventually. This can lead to crowded or unevenly spaced teeth that can be hard to clean properly, but placing a dental implant prevents this by ensuring surrounding teeth maintain their proper placement.
Conserve jawbone – Placing a fixed bridge or removable dentures to replace missing teeth eventually leads to jawbone deterioration and loss. Jawbone loss happens because, without a tooth root, there isn’t proper stimulation to the bone. Dental implants prevent this bone loss and protect your facial structure. It’s important to get dental implants relatively soon after losing a tooth because, in time, the jawbone can lose integrity and require a bone graft for implant placement.
Support dentures – Traditional, removable dentures can fit poorly, cause sores, cause sunken lips and require dietary restrictions. However, implant-supported dentures offer a permanent solution that can improve the form and function of dentures with as few as four implants.
Prevent sunken appearance – Jawbone deterioration from missing teeth can give a person’s face a sunken appearance that makes them look much older than their true age. Along with the sunken cheeks, denture wearers may have thin lips as well. Placing dental implants provides the stimulation the jawbone needs to remain healthy as the post mimics a natural tooth root and this keeps the face looking youthful and full.
Modern advances in dental implants
Although dental implants have been around for decades, dentists today have the assistance of digital imaging equipment, computer technology and ceramic restoration milling machines to improve the process. Implant dentistry professionals can now show patients what their results will be before treatment, which helps in the decisions process.