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What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a small titanium screw that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. Dental implants can be placed in either the upper or lower jaws. Due to the biocompatible properties of titanium, a dental implant fuses with the bone and becomes a good anchor for the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used in solutions for replacing single or multiple missing teeth.
Why replace a missing tooth?
When you lose a tooth, the biting forces change on the teeth next to the space, causing them to shift. Opposing teeth may even begin to extrude out of the socket, which means they too could eventually be lost.
As your bite changes, it gets more difficult to chew your food, and you may suffer damage to your jaw joint. It’s also much harder to clean teeth that have shifted; harmful plaque and tartar collect in the new hard-to-reach places created by the shifting, causing tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Also, without the root structure of a natural tooth present, the jawbone can shrink. This shrinkage will make your face look older than it is.
There are no loose parts to worry about losing. The dental implant is stable and comfortable. No adjustment is needed after placement. Normally, it will serve its owner for life.
Benefits of implants
An implant and crown is practically indistinguishable from your natural teeth, and it fits so securely that you won’t even notice it when you chew and speak. When we place an implant, it’s not necessary for us to alter the structure of the adjacent teeth, so their strength and integrity is maintained. Also, an implant replaces the roots of a missing tooth, which helps to lessen the bone loss that occurs when a tooth is missing. In essence, an implant is the next best thing to your natural tooth.
Course of Treatment
Before the procedure
The dentist makes a first examination and takes one or more x-rays of the area to prepare for the procedure.
Installing the implant
The implant is placed into the bone and covered with a protective healing cap while it is allowed to heal.
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Attaching the new crown
After healing, an abutment is attached to the implant. The abutment can be adjusted and shaped to allow the replacement tooth.
Then the final step is to affix a crown to the abutment. The crown is shaped and colored to match your surrounding teeth.
You should expect the new tooth to fit and function just like a natural tooth.