Dental implants are titanium cylinders (screws) that are surgically placed into the jawbone where there are missing teeth below the gums. Once in place, they allow your dentist to mount replacement teeth onto them. Your new tooth, a crown, will look and feel similar to your real teeth. An implant doesn't come loose like a denture can. Dental implants also benefit general oral health because they do not have to be anchored to other teeth, like bridge. Whether you currently wear full or partial dentures or just need to replace one or more missing teeth, dental implants can give you replacement teeth that look, feel and function as naturally as the original.
Why would you need a dental implant?
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or all of the teeth. The goal of teeth replacement in dentistry is to restore function as well aesthetics. When it comes to tooth replacement, generally, there are three options: removable dental appliance (complete denture or partial denture), fixed dental bridge (cemented), and dental implant.
Dentures are the more affordable option for replacement teeth but are the least desirable because of the inconvenience of a removable appliance in the mouth. Furthermore, dentures can affect one's taste and sensory experience with food.
Dental bridgework was the more common restorative option prior to the relatively recent shift to dental implant treatment. The main disadvantage to bridgework is the dependence on existing natural teeth for support. Implants are supported by bone only and do not affect surrounding natural teeth. Deciding on which option to choose depends on many factors. Specifically for dental implants, these factors include
Location of missing tooth or teeth
Quantity and quality of the jawbone where the dental implant is to be placed
Health of the patient
Cost and patient preference
To receive implants, you need to have:
Adequate bone to support the implant (or be a candidate for bone grafting)
Excellent oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits to ensure the long-term success and health of the dental implants
Missing teeth can make you feel self-conscious when eating, talking or smiling, and create oral health problems for you as well. Dental implants are a great solution for improving your dental health, as well as your confidence.