We put a lot of emphasis on the perfect smile these days, but there are many factors that can detract from them, sometimes for reasons outside our control. Peridontal disease, tooth decay, injuries, aging, there are many things that factor into losing a tooth, or teeth, but the question becomes—how do we fix it? If you haven’t heard of dental implants, they may be the option you are looking for all along. Let’s see how exactly they work.
Do I Need Dental Implants?
Well, according to By Design Dental LLC, a Dental implant Center in Philadelphia, “A dental implant may seem like a complicated entity, but in reality, the way it works is rather simple. Each implant is a metal post or frame that is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath your gums.” Once you put them in place, a dentist will be able to put a replacement tooth on it. Your implant will generally consist of three parts:
- The implant: A screw that serves as a root for your new teeth. This is what permanently attaches to your jaw.
- The abutment: A permanent, but removable by your doctor, connector that supports and holds a tooth or set of teeth.
- The crown (or prosthetic tooth): This is the part of the tooth that you can see. It’s usually made of zirconium or porcelain for durability and good looks.
If you wish, you can get dental implants for one tooth, several teeth, or even entire bottom/top rows of teeth. The ideal candidate will be in good general and oral health. Note that adequate bone in the jaw will be needed for supporting the implant, and good overall gum health is also a plus.
Generally, there are two types of implants that are considered safe by the American Dental Association. These are:
Endosteal implants. These are surgically implanted directly into the jawbone. Once the surrounding gum tissue has healed, a second surgery is needed to connect a post to the original implant. Finally, an artificial tooth (or teeth) is attached to the post-individually, or grouped on a bridge or denture.
Subperiosteal implants. These consist of a metal frame that is fitted onto the jawbone just below the gum tissue. As the gums heal, the frame becomes fixed to the jawbone. Posts attached to the frame protrude through the gums. Artificial teeth are then mounted to the posts, just like endosteal implants.
Why Choose These Over The Alternatives?
Despite the nature of dental implants, they aren’t always the first thing that come to mind when it to dental work. However, you need to understand that some of the alternatives option may have issues of their own. According to Dr. Raihan Nazir, a dentist in Orange County, California, dentures may not be an appealing option due to, “bad breath, pain, or a poor fit as the jaw shrinks with age,” making getting dental implants is not only a viable alternative, but preferable. Bridges, the second traditional option for replacing lost teeth, require altering existing teeth to make room for a new one. The bone is also better preserved, and over time, a dental implant can both look better and be easier to clean than a bridge.
In addition, dental implants have plenty of benefits in their own right. They are the closest to feeling and looking like real teeth, which is important for people feeling self-conscious about their replacements. This added realism carries over to functionality, meaning that you will feel more comfortable eating as well. Note that all these benefits do carry a cost, and dental implants are the most expensive of the three options we have discussed.
If you’re looking into dental implants any time in the near future, be sure to bring them up to your dentist. If they offer them as a service, they may be able to provide you with more information. If not, they can often direct you to resources and professionals who do. Be sure to know all your options before opting into any one dental procedure.