Dental implants are frames or metal posts that are placed into the jawbone below the gum through a surgical procedure. After being positioned, a dentist then mounts a replacement tooth over the implant. The dental implants are then left to fuse to your jawbone so that they can support the artificial tooth firmly. When dentures and bridges are mounted onto implants, they stay in place and do not shift or slip in your mouth when eating or speaking. Implants bring stability and comfort to bridges and dentures.
Regular dentures and bridges are not popular because they cause people to have sore spots, gagging or unstable bites. Additionally, conventional bridges have to be attached to a patient’s teeth on both sides of the space created by the missing tooth. With dental implants, the neighboring teeth are not affected since they are not required to play a role in holding your new artificial tooth or teeth in place.
The main role of dental implants is to act as a teeth replacement, however, it can serve other roles such as supporting a removable denture. Dental mini-implants are often used by orthodontists as anchors (temporary anchorage devices) to align teeth properly.
For you to qualify for a dental implant, your gums must be healthy, and you must have adequate bone to reinforce the implant. You should also be willing to keep the replacement tooth healthy. You can achieve this by practicing good oral hygiene at home and visiting your dentist regularly for checkups.
Dental implants can represent a sizable investment in your mouth but they provide lasting benefits for the recipient. Here are some of the benefits that you will enjoy if you get a dental implant:
1. Long-lasting It is built to last and thus it will serve you for a long time and save you money in the process because it is cheaper than using dental bridges which will require more frequent replacement. A well placed and carefully cared for implant should provide years of service.
2. Best alternative for natural teeth Dental implants are stable and strong. If implanted by an experienced dentist, the tooth will fit, look and function just like a natural tooth. Alternatives such as bridges and dentures can cause bone deterioration as well as interfere with other aspects of your life such as eating and smiling.
3. Good for the face A dental implant restores your smile and retains your face shape. Teeth are important in maintaining the shape of a face and prevent it from sagging or appearing sad and sunken. Dental implants can function just like natural teeth and help maintain the natural shape of your face.
4. Peace of mind A dental implant enables you to enjoy your life because you will not feel the need to hide at home to avoid being seen in public due to missing teeth or an awkward smile. You will also not have to worry that it will fall out in public like is usually the case with dentures. It will definitely boost your self-esteem and make you a happier person than you were without them.
5. Convenience Dental implants will stay in your mouth at all times just like your natural teeth unlike dentures which have to be removed and kept in a cup when someone goes to bed. With dental implants, you can avoid all this hassle because you can clean and care for them just like natural teeth.
6. It is good for your bone Having a missing tooth can be detrimental to your jawbone since it can result in bone deterioration or loss. Once a dental implant is in place, your jawbone will stay healthy because they promote bone growth and help prevent bone loss.
7. Aids speech You will be able to speak with clarity if you have dental implants because you won’t have to worry that your teeth will fall off.
The procedure The procedure of implanting dental implants is quite simple. The first thing the dentist will do is to develop a personalized treatment plan. The plan is tailored to meet your needs, and this plan can only be prepared by specialists who have specialized training in restorative dentistry and oral surgery. The next step will be to place the implant into the ideal spot to support the missing tooth or teeth. A dental implant is a tiny object made from titanium. Within 4 to 6 months, the jawbone will grow around the implant as it heals which will hold the metal post firmly in the jaw. Once your doctor determines that the implant has embedded to the jawbone, they will attach an abutment which is a tiny connector post to the implant. This abutment is designed to hold the new tooth adequately. Your dentist will then take an impression of your teeth and make a model of your bite. The new tooth or set of teeth will be made according to the model created. Once this has been done, a crown will be placed on top of the abutment. The replacement tooth or teeth will be made in the same color as your natural tooth. Most patients report that the procedure is almost painless save for a little discomfort. Caring for dental implants is quite simple because they need the same care as natural teeth such as flossing, brushing, rinsing out with antibacterial mouthwash and paying regular visits to the dentist for check-ups. Dr. Leite has received specialized training in placing dental implants using the latest computer aided imaging and planning modalities for predictable and safe dental implant placement.