Everything You Need To Know About Dental Implants
As much as you might wish it, your teeth don’t stay the same for your entire life. Whether you experience tooth decay, get an infection, or have a tooth removed due to an injury, your smile will likely change at some point during adulthood. The job of cosmetic dentists is to make it look like you are one of the lucky ones who have never had any dental troubles.
One of the most vital tools in cosmetic dentistry is the dental implant. Discover what this dental procedure is and you will know if you can benefit from it.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots, very similar in shape to screws. A cosmetic dentist will place the implant into your jawbone, where it bonds with your natural bone. A connector, known as an abutment, goes on top of the implant to hold and support the artificial tooth or teeth. Although it is artificial, this replacement will look like a real tooth and is usually custom-made to match the color of your natural teeth and fit your mouth.
Modern dental implants are the strongest devices available in cosmetic dentistry to support replacement teeth, allowing them to look, feel, and function naturally. While there are several procedures meant to mimic the look and feel of real teeth, dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves natural bone and even helps to stimulate bone growth. Dentists have been successfully using dental implants for over 30 years to help improve the lives of patients who have lost teeth for a variety of reasons.
What are the types of dental implants?
Typically, dental implants are categorized by the type of procedure used to place them and where they are placed in the mouth. These are the most common types of implants:
- Two-Stage Implants: As the name implies, this type of implant requires two separate procedures. In the first, the patient undergoes surgery so that the dentist can place the implant into the jawbone and stitch up the gum tissue. A few months later, the dentist performs another minor surgery to attach the abutment and artificial tooth.
- Single-Stage Implants: This procedure still involves the initial surgery to place the implant in the jaw, but the implant is longer so that the top is level with the gum tissue. When the surgeon stitches the gum tissue, the implant cap is visible. After several months of healing, the dentist can attach the abutment and artificial tooth without performing the second minor surgery to expose the implant’s head, as is necessary with two-stage implants.
- Endosteal Implants: Endosteals are placed in the jawbone and are most commonly used for two-stage implant procedures. These implants include screw types, cylinder types, or bladed types. Dentists primarily use these implants as an alternative to a bridge or removable denture.
- Subperiosteal Implants These implants come in the form of a metal frame and are placed on the jawbone just below the gum tissue, rather than in the bone. The frame becomes fixed to the jawbone as the gums heal. Unlike endosteal implants, the metal posts that will attach to the dental crowns are exposed and protrude through the gums. Subperiosteal implants were primarily used to hold dentures in place when patients had insufficient bone height, but they are used far less often than endosteal implants today.
When you have a consultation with your cosmetic dentist, they will be able to determine the best type of implant for your unique situation and needs.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Dental implants can benefit adults of all ages. Teenagers can even get a dental implant, as long as their facial growth and development is complete.
With 32% of people saying that they are concerned by the look of their teeth, perhaps the most significant benefit of dental implants is that they look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Once you heal from the procedure, the implants are typically so comfortable that you don’t think about them. For someone who has lost a tooth due to injury or illness, the feeling of a having a healthy set of teeth — and the confidence that comes with it — is like no other.
In terms of maintenance, dental implants don’t require any more care than the rest of your teeth do. You can brush and floss them just as you do your natural teeth. When you give them this proper care, your dental implants can last for decades. This durability is much greater than with other types of dental restoration options, such as dentures and dental bridges, that tend to need replacement every five or ten years.
Whether you were born with a missing tooth or you lost a tooth due to an accident or tooth decay, a dental implant could be a viable option for you. Talk to your dentist today about your dental restoration options and ask about dental implants. Before you know it, you could be living with a healthier and more natural-looking smile.