Tooth loss can occur due to a number of causes: periodontal (gum) disease and other oral diseases, poor oral hygiene, malnutrition, drug use, injury or genetics. Traditional solutions to missing teeth are removable dentures, but these are not always ideal. Messy adhesives that don’t work and loose dentures are common problems. A better and more long-lasting alternative is dental implants.
A dental implant is a device placed in the jawbone to serve as a replacement tooth root. Implants support bridges, crowns and other restoration appliances. Since implants are designed to fuse with bone, they are permanent replacements for missing teeth. Most dental implants are made of pure titanium or titanium alloys. Titanium is almost exclusively used for dental implants because the metal integrates with bone effectively (osseointegration).
Implants are recommended for people with a healthy mouth and enough bones in the jaw. Since surgery is involved, good overall health is also important, and patients should be cleared by their doctors before the procedure. Once you get the all clear, a team of dental specialists develops a personalized treatment plan. During initial surgery, a titanium post is embedded in the jawbone for each tooth to be replaced. You then have to wait a few months for the gums and bones to heal.
Once healing is complete, a connector called an abutment will be fastened to the titanium device. Lab technicians use x-rays and impressions of your teeth to create a replacement tooth or a dental crown. The abutment supports the crown and secures it in place.
Implants are Designed to Last a Lifetime
Unlike removal dental appliances, implants offer better convenience and durability. Since implants are fused to the jawbone, patients become oblivious to the presence of an artificial object in their mouth. You can chew, bite, eat and speak as if you have natural teeth.
With dental implants, there’s also no need to worry about aesthetics or damage to existing teeth (no need to file down a tooth to accommodate an implant). Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits. It’s no secret that implants are costly, but they the best investment if you want a permanent, natural-looking and long-lasting solution to missing teeth.