Dental implant is an artificial tooth root replacement and is used in prosthetic dentistry. There are several types of dental implants; the most widely accepted and successful is the osteointegrated implant. Osteointegration is the direct structural and functional connection between living bone and the surface of a load-bearing artificial implant, typically made of titanium.
Dental implants are permanent tooth replacements. They hold a crown, bridge or denture just like roots hold natural teeth in place. Many dentists consider implants to be one of the greatest advancements in dentistry since they truly are "the next best thing to your natural teeth." Unlike a traditional plate or bridge, dental implants are actually anchored to your jaw. After integration with the jawbone, the crown, bridge or denture is then attached to the implants. This provides much greater stability for more effective eating, speaking and smiling!
Implants can even help a patient missing just one tooth. In the past, the two adjacent healthy teeth had to be ground down and "sacrificed" to build a three-unit bridge to replace the single missing tooth. Today, a single implant can often be placed in between the teeth and a crown can be fabricated without affecting the healthy teeth.
Dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth. Every way you look at it, dental implants are a better solution to the problem of missing teeth.
The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease.
This procedure is a team effort between you, your Dentist and the Oral Maxillofacial Doctor. Your Surgeon and dentist will consult with you to determine where and how your implant should be placed, depending on your specific condition and the type of implant chosen.
First, the implant, which looks like a screw or cylinder, is placed into your jaw. Over the next three months, the implant and the bone are allowed to bond together to form an anchor for your artificial tooth. During this time, a temporary tooth replacement option can be worn over the implant site.
Often, a second step of the procedure is necessary to uncover the implant and attach an extension. This small metal post, called an abutment, completes the foundation on which your new tooth will be placed.
There are some implant systems (one-stage) that do not require this second step. These systems use an implant which already has the extension piece attached.
Finally, a replacement tooth called a crown will be created for you by your dentist and attached to the abutment. After a short time, you will experience restored confidence in your smile and your ability to chew and speak. Dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth.
If you are missing several teeth, implant-supported bridges can replace them. Dental implants will replace both your lost natural teeth and some of the roots.
If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported full bridge or full denture can replace them.
As you know, your own teeth require conscientious at-home oral care and regular dental visits. Dental implants are like your own teeth and will require the same care. In order to keep your implant clean and plaque-free, brushing and flossing still apply!