There are many different dental solutions that can transform different aspects of our teeth and help us achieve a smile that we can be proud of. This includes treatments to replace teeth that have been lost or needed to be extracted due to severe decay or damage. One of the most popular treatments that has revolutionized the way in which lost teeth are replaced and smiles are restored is dental implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a solution that uses an innovative new technique in which not only is there a visible prosthetic tooth, but this prosthetic is attached to an artificial root. This root is made from a titanium post that is implanted into the bone of the jaw through an incision in the gum where the tooth used to be. This post – the implant – gives the technique its name.
Until dental implants, a missing tooth could only be replaced by creating a bridge – a fake tooth that has a crown placed on either side. These crowns are attached to healthy teeth on either side of the gap. However, over time this can place a great deal of pressure onto the healthy teeth, putting them at risk of damage. With the implant technique, each individual implant has its own root, giving the prosthetic superior strength and stability without relying on any other teeth in the mouth.
The unique design of dental implants takes advantage of the natural bone healing process. Bone is an organic material and if it is damaged in any way, it will heal itself. When it is disrupted in the placement of an implant, the bone then heals around it, anchoring it permanently to the jaw. This is known as osseointegration, and while it takes place, patients are fitted with a temporary artificial tooth or restoration. When osseointegration is complete, patients are invited to return to have their bespoke restoration fitted.
Whilst most commonly recognized as a solution for a single tooth replacement, dental implant techniques are now being used to place implant-supported bridges and implant-supported partial and full dentures. Implant-supported bridges and dentures can usually be supported on less than one post per missing tooth, meaning that less invasive surgery is needed than placing implants one at a time. For example, a total arch of prosthetic teeth can be properly supported on between four and eight implanted posts.
The advantages of dental implants
Some of the greatest advantages of dental implants include:
One of the main concerns that patients have about regular tooth replacement solutions such as bridges and dentures is their stability. Relying on neighboring teeth to support them places them and the restoration under pressure, and bridges and dentures can visibly move around, causing embarrassment. By anchoring the implants into the jaw, dental implants have unrivaled stability, enabling patients to eat, drink, laugh, sneeze and more without panicking that their restoration might move or come loose.
Many people love dental implants because of the discretion that they offer. They more closely resemble natural teeth than any other type of restoration. The visible elements of each implant are bespoke to your mouth, ensuring that they fit perfectly and are completely comfortable. They are also glazed to match your existing teeth, making dental implant solutions virtually invisible once in place.
Supporting your facial structure
Bone loss is a common side effect of tooth loss. This happens because there is no longer a tooth root to stimulate the healthy bone. When the bone in your jaw starts to deteriorate it can affect the shape of your face, leading to a lack of definition. However, implant posts take the place of the natural tooth root, causing the bone in the jaw to remain strong and healthy.
Better dental health
One of the best things about dental implants is that they don’t disrupt your usual oral hygiene routine. You can and should brush dental implants just like you can regular teeth. You can also floss between them. Flossing is particularly recommended as it helps to keep gum disease at bay – something which, left untreated, could compromise the health of your gums and jaw. Advanced gum disease is about the only thing that can threaten the viability of dental implants since it can cause the jaw bone to weaken and the posts to come loose.
Durability and a long-lasting investment
With proper care and attention both at home and by your dentist, dental implants have been shown to last longer than any other type of dental restoration, with some being maintained upwards of 25 years.
If you have a gap in your smile that you hope to restore, or if you have a conventional tooth loss solution that you are hoping to replace for a superior alternative, dental implants could be the perfect solution. Contact our team today to find out more or to schedule a confidential consultation to assess your candidacy.