Dental implants are artificial roots, placed under the gum, that are designed to either replace a missing tooth (teeth) or to secure a removable partial or complete denture. They are a great option for those individuals that have lost one or more teeth and desire a secure, long-lasting replacement. Dental implants are typically made out of titanium, which is an extremely biocompatible product that your body will tolerate well.
Dental implants can help restore or enhance your oral health, function and/or esthetics in several ways:
Replace a single tooth or teeth without affecting the neighboring teeth
Replace multiple teeth to avoid the need for a removable partial or complete denture
Provide support for an existing partial or denture, making them more secure and comfortable
When replacing a single tooth, dental implants are often the most natural and complete tooth replacement option, both in function and ability to clean. They have the following advantages over a traditional tooth replacement option, a bridge:
No drilling or modification to the neighboring teeth is required. This helps to limit the potential for future cavities and nerve damage to these other teeth.
Because dental implants are made of titanium, there is no potential for cavity development.
A dental implant is a more complete tooth replacement, as it replaces both the tooth root and the crown of the tooth. Replacing the tooth root will allow for bone preservation in the area.
Patients that currently wear a traditional removable partial or complete denture can experience a true life change with the placement of dental implants. For these individuals, dental implants can be placed in the mouth, under the denture, allowing for the denture to snap securely into place. Implants that are utilized in conjunction with removable appliances provide the following benefits:
Secure fit of a removable appliance. This will help the patient regain confidence in smiling and eating as the concern with appliance movement will be decreased.
Bone maintenance. When teeth are no longer in the mouth, the bone that was securing these teeth is lost. This bone loss is accelerated when a removable appliance is in place. The presence of dental implants can help maintain your bone, thus helping to support the denture and also your facial structure.
Regain the ability to eat virtually all foods. As the denture will be more secure, the ability to bite and chew foods will be improved.
As complete chewing of foods is necessary for proper processing of foods and extraction or nutrients, a secure fitting appliance will help a patient maintain better nutrition and will help lead to fewer digestive problems.
Some studies suggest that a patient’s psychological profile is healthier when they can chew and smile more confidently with a secure set of teeth.
If there is a desire to eliminate the denture completely, dental implants can be used to provide a tooth replacement option that is fixed in the mouth. This can replace a whole set of upper and/or lower teeth, negating the need for the removable appliance altogether.