When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implants and the restorations attached to them are the closest thing available to biological teeth. A dental implant is a prosthetic used to replace the missing root of a tooth. Secured to a dental implant is a restoration like a dental crown or bridge, which replaces the biting (visible) surfaces of teeth.
How Dental Implants Work
A dental implant is a screw-like prosthetic made from titanium. It is embedded into the jawbone and bone mass will fuse around it over time through a process called osseointegration. With bone holding the implant in place, a dental implant can durably support a restoration (such as a crown or bridge). Restorations are permanently attached to dental implants by abutments. By replacing both a tooth’s visible surface and roots, patients can enjoy a lifelike prosthetic that assists with optimal oral function.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer unique benefits when compared to conventional tooth replacement methods like dentures and bridges. First, a dental implant supports existing biological teeth by keeping them in place. When teeth are next to empty tooth sockets, they can shift out of place. Secondly, dental implants keep bone in the jaw healthy. When teeth are missing, the roots can no longer stimulate bone. The body often resorbs unstimulated bone. Bone loss is problematic because it can lead to further tooth loss. This issue commonly affects people who have lost teeth. An additional unique benefit to dental implants is the fact that they are easy to maintain. A person cares for dental implants by brushing and flossing. Overnight soaking, special cleansing solutions, and water irrigators are not necessary to keep dental implants and surrounding oral tissue clean with proper oral hygiene.
If you are interested in implant dentistry, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Weakley. At your appointment, we will perform an oral examination, ask questions about your health history, and take diagnostic images to determine if this treatment option is right for you.
Candidacy for dental implants is determined by a few factors. While dental implants are great for replacing lost teeth, they are not right for every patient. In most cases, those receiving dental implants need adequate bone structure to support these titanium prosthetics and a history of good oral health. For instance, those who suffer with advanced and uncontrolled periodontal disease are not ideal candidates for dental implants because periodontal disease attacks the structures (gums and bone) that support dental implants.
Fortunately, many patients can be eligible for dental implants with the help of tissue grafting procedures. Bone grafts and gum grafts can be used to rebuild structures affected by oral disease. If patients can maintain adequate oral health after these treatments, they might be candidates for dental implants.
When it comes to determining the best tooth replacement method for your needs, we encourage you to consult with our dentist. A consultation involves a review of your health history, an oral examination, and diagnostics to determine if dental implants are right for you.