An excellent way to replace missing teeth.
- A missing tooth or teeth
- Potential bite and jaw joint problems from teeth shifting to fill the space
- The “sunken face” look associated with missing teeth
- Desire to improve chewing ability
- Desire for a more permanent solution than dentures
A dental implant is a screw-like post used to replace damaged or missing teeth with an artificial tooth or teeth. An implant functions much like that of a natural tooth. The implant process starts with a surgical procedure in which a post is placed in the jaw bone. After full healing an artificial tooth is then attached to the top of the implant, creating a natural looking, undetectable replacement for the missing tooth. In the event that more than one tooth is missing, several implants may provide a base for a series of artificial teeth known as a fixed bridge (see fixed bridges.) Implants can even be used to secure a full set of removable dentures for people who have no remaining natural teeth. This can greatly improve chewing ability and retention of full dentures.
It generally takes about four months for the surgical implant to heal before the final restoration of the artificial tooth or teeth can be finished.
Dental implants with artificial teeth are the closest thing to your natural teeth at this time. They are strong, stable, durable and virtually undetectable. By filling spaces or gaps left by missing teeth, a person’s chewing ability increases, jaw joint problems typically decrease and continued bone atrophy of the area stabilizes.
Dental implants are excellent, state-of-the-art restorations and have few disadvantages when compared to alternatives such as dentures. However, dental implants do require surgery and time to heal, and they are initially more expensive than dentures or fixed bridges. These disadvantages are offset by the ease of use, saved time, long term health benefits as well as the longevity of the restoration.
Dentures are an alternative to dental implants, in some cases, where finances are a primary concern or if dentures are the only treatment option. However, there are several disadvantages to dentures such as eating, bone atrophy, and retention.