If you have one or more missing teeth, it’s important to replace them. If you don’t, you run the risk of encountering all sorts of other problems – from difficulty chewing and speaking to jaw problems and more. Fortunately, there are several different effective ways to replace missing teeth. One that is becoming more and more popular among dental patients is the dental implant. When you find out more about these amazing dental appliances, you’ll understand why so many people are selecting this method to replace missing teeth.
What Is An Implant?
The most common type of implant consists of a metal post (usually made of titanium) that is inserted into the jawbone of the patient, below the gum line and in the same location as the missing tooth. After a few months, the bone tissue fuses to the metal, creating an extremely strong and durable artificial tooth root. After the fusing takes place, the dentist affixes an artificial tooth to the top of the root. The result is very much like getting a brand new natural tooth. The implant looks and functions just like a regular tooth, it can be cared for just like a natural tooth, and it can often last for the lifetime of the patient. The process may be long, but the outcome is very much worth the wait in the opinion of many dental patients.
There are currently two types of implants available:
Endosteal implant — As we described above, this type of implant is surgically inserted directly into the jawbone. After the gum tissue is healed and the implant has fused to the bone, a second surgical procedure is done to connect a post to the implant and attach an artificial tooth to the post.
Subperiosteal implant — This type of implant consists of a metal frame that is placed on top of the jawbone just beneath the gum tissue. Posts for artificial teeth protrude through the gum tissue. Over time, the frame becomes attached to the jawbone. Once that process is complete, the dentist attaches artificial teeth to the protruding posts.
Dental Implants and Dentures
The most obvious use for dental implants is to replace missing teeth, but there are other uses as well. For example, implants can be used to provide support for dentures and dental prosthetics. Dentures have a tendency to slip and move to a certain extent inside the patient’s mouth, but dentures that are secured to dental implants do not move.
How to Know if Implants Are Right for You
Although implants are a fine example of remarkable advances in technology, they may not be the right choice for everyone. You’ll need to have adequate, healthy bone tissue in order to accommodate the implant. The only way to know for sure whether or not this is the right choice for you is to visit your dentist. There, X-rays can be taken to determine the current condition of your bone tissue and indicate whether you’re a good candidate for an implant.