Dental implants are an effective solution for restoring oral form and function
Dental implants have become an important part of modern dentistry. With millions of people having now successfully received dental implants, alternatives such as dentures are no longer the only option to replace teeth. Dental implants offer a tooth restoration that is natural in appearance and comfortable for the patient.
Why replace a missing tooth?
Although the aesthetic benefits of replacing a missing tooth are obvious, there are also many functional and health benefits too. The underlying jawbone beneath your teeth requires stimulation from the teeth when chewing and clenching to remain healthy. If you are missing a tooth, the jawbone is no longer being stimulated in that specific area and can begin to deteriorate in a process known as resorption. This can often lead to a sunken or prematurely aged appearance in the face. The neighbouring teeth can also begin to shift into the gap, causing a number of dental problems.
When a missing tooth is replaced with a dental implant, the underlying bone is stimulated and the adjacent teeth will not shift in order to fill the gap.
What is a dental implant?
Essentially, a dental implant is a bio-compatible titanium post that is placed in the jawbone to replace a missing tooth. It is designed to fuse with the jawbone and become a permanent fixture. A dental implant looks just like a small screw with a natural looking prosthetic crown attached to visible area of the implant.
Once the implant has been inserted into the jawbone, it will heal and fuse to the jawbone over a period of 3-6 months in a process known as osseointegration. Once the implant site has completely healed and it has fused effectively with the jawbone, an abutment is attached to the top of the implant, which will hold the crown securely in place. The height of the abutment can be adjusted to correspond with the gumline.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Dental implants can offer a number of benefits for patients who have previously worn dentures. Irritation and oral sores can occur in cases where patients have poor quality dentures.
Other benefits of dental implants include:
- Aesthetically pleasing
- They feel just like a natural tooth
- Beneficial to your diet – foods that you may not have been able to eat without all your teeth, can now be enjoyed!
- Eliminate distasteful and messy adhesives
- Maintain bone structure – Implants can help maintain your bone structure and support your facial tissues. They can reduce or eliminate bone atrophy, which causes “shrinkage” or facial cosmetic changes.
Yes! In fact, there are a number of functional and health benefits to replacing a missing tooth. The jawbone needs to be stimulated by the teeth when chewing and clenching to remain healthy, so if you are missing a tooth, your jawbone can begin to deteriorate when it is no longer stimulated. This can then lead to a sunken, aged appearance, and the remaining teeth can begin to shift, causing a number of dental problems.
A dental implant is made from biocompatible titanium, which is placed directly into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth. It is especially designed to fuse with the jawbone and become a permanent fixture within the mouth. A porcelain crown is attached to the implant so that the visible part looks just like a natural tooth.
Once the dental implant has been surgically inserted into the bone, it will heal and fuse with the bone over a period of between 3 and 6 months. The process in which the implant fuses with the bone is known as osseointegration.