A dental implant is a small screw made of titanium and is inserted surgically directly into the jaw bone. An implant replaces a missing tooth or root and can support a crown or other prosthetics constructions like dental bridge or dentures.
After insertion, a 3-6-months healing period is required for the process known as osseointegration during which the bone grows in tightly around the root form so that it is solidly anchored.
After 3-6 months healing, the prosthetic work can start. An abutment is screwed into the root, and the crown, bridge or denture is placed over it. The result is very functional, long-lasting, and highly aesthetic.
When are dental implants recommended?
- If you have a missing a tooth in the very back of your mouth, you may not have the option of having supporting teeth on both sides of the missing tooth.
- If you have one or two teeth missing, and the adjacent teeth are intact and healthy, dental implants are a good idea. They eliminate the need for placing crowns on adjacent healthy teeth.
- If all your teeth are missing, dental implants are more preferable than removable dentures. Removable dentures not only have poor chewing efficiency (less than 50% of normal chewing efficiency), but also they lead to gradual bone resorption ending up with facial collapse and the inability to reasonably fit any kind of a denture.
Advantages of Dental Implants
- Permanent solution.
- It isn’t required to prepare the adjacent teeth.
- A dental implant, can be brushed and flossed normally.
- An implant prevents bone loss. When a tooth is extracted, the body senses the loss and begins to resorb the bone that used to support that tooth. In the case of multiple missing teeth, this can lead to facial collapse, inability to wear even removable teeth, or jaw fracture. This is in addition to the aesthetic problems. The presence of a dental implant sends signals to the body that this bone is still needed, and these difficulties are prevented.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
- Long treatment time.
- Implants may be more expensive than other methods of tooth replacements like dentures and bridges.