What Is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are replacements for tooth roots. They create a strong foundation for fixed or removable artificial teeth that are made to resemble your natural teeth. The implant is essentially an anchor for securing replacement teeth or dentures, offering a more secure option compared to dental bridges.
Adding a dental implant requires minor surgery. The surgical procedure involves multiple steps. We first need to remove the damaged teeth and root. In some cases, bone grafting is needed to ensure that the jawbone is healthy enough to support the implant.
The dental implant is then implanted into the jawbone. Sometimes a temporary implant crown is able to be placed the same day as the surgery. Other situations require time for healing and recovery before adding the creation of an abutment and artificial tooth. The jawbone slowly grows around the implant and the surrounding gum tissue then heal.
The entire process may take up to several months, depending on your situation and the number of implants. However, the results are long-lasting. Dental implants may last decades or a lifetime.
When to Choose a Dental Implant Instead of a Bridge
A bridge is another dental treatment that is frequently used to replace one or more missing teeth. As with a dental implant, it involves the use of a false tooth or crown. However, instead of securing the false tooth to an implant, the replacement is secured to the adjacent teeth.
The adjacent teeth act as abutments for the artificial tooth. To support the bridge, the adjacent teeth need crowns. In some cases, the adjacent teeth may be too decayed to support the bridge. In other situations, they may not benefit from crowns due to being intact teeth. In those situations, an implant is often the preferred treatment.
Instead of relying on adjacent teeth, implants rely on the health of the jawbone. However, if the jawbone is not thick enough or is too soft, we may need to use a bone graft to support the implant.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Replacing missing teeth with implants offers many advantages. When you fill in the gap left by missing teeth, you may notice that it becomes easier to chew, eat, and talk, especially when compared to poorly fitted dentures.
Dentures may slide or shift, causing you to slur your words or mumble. They can also slide when chewing. Implants do not create these problems as the implants securely anchor the artificial teeth.
Dental implants may also improve your self-esteem and the appearance of your smile. As implants look and feel like natural teeth, they can give you back your smile and help you to feel better about yourself.
Along with the emotional and superficial benefits of dental implants, you can also enjoy improved oral health. Dental implants do not reduce adjacent teeth as bridges do. Individual implants also provide greater access between teeth, allowing you to maintain your brushing and flossing routine.