Dental implants basics – Dental implants are the latest & greatest advancement in dental technology that allows dentist to replace missing teeth permanently. You may know that implants can replace teeth & are used in complete smile reconstructions & makeovers. But you may also not be sure exactly what dental implants are, and how they work.
To begin with dental implants basics, we want to familiarize you with how natural teeth work. Natural teeth consist of a crown, which is the visible part of tooth that’s outside the gums, and a root, which is under the gums & attached to the bone of your jaw. Your smaller front teeth tend to have one root each while the larger teeth toward the back of your mouth (molars & bicuspids) tend to have more than one. The root of your teeth contain the nerve & the pulp, which nourish the inside of a healthy tooth. When this pulp becomes damaged or infected, that’s when the dentist tells you that you need a root canal, a procedure which can save your tooth even when the pulp is compromised.
Traditional tooth replacement options such as bridges (partials) & dentures only structurally replaced the crown part of your missing tooth. Bridges or partials replace your tooth by attaching an artificial tooth to the healthy teeth nearby. Dentures replace an entire upper or lower arch of teeth & visually replace the gums too for a natural look. Neither of these options anchor replacement teeth in your jaw or gums, which means that people with these appliances have to avoid many foods & may experience slipping or discomfort when eating or speaking.
With the quickly-advancing technology of dental implants, we can finally offer a restorative dentistry option that replaces your missing teeth both visually and functionally.
Dental implants actually consist of two parts, just like your natural teeth. The implant itself acts as an artificial tooth root & is secured in the bone of your jaw just like a real root. Implants are made of a special kind of bio-safe titanium. Both this special metal & the screw-like shape of the implant’s lower portion are designed so that bone will grow around it, keeping it tightly in place.
The second part of the dental implant is the crown. This is an artificial tooth that is made of porcelain & is custom designed by a dental technician to match the color, size & shape of your natural teeth. It is attached to the metal implant using a permanent dental adhesive.
Once the procedure is complete & the patient has healed, they will have fully functional teeth that are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. The result is a return to eating any of the foods you want, speaking naturally, smiling confidently & being free of dental pain.
It’s true that dental implants cost more than most tooth replacement options such as bridges or dentures. If your biggest concern is cost, you may consider these other options. However, if you biggest concern is your long-term comfort, health & quality of life, implants are your best option.