Do you need to replace a missing or damaged tooth? If so, your dentist will likely offer you a few tooth replacement options. The top recommendation by most dentists is a dental implant. A dental implant completely replaces a tooth, including the root, and is considered to be the highest quality tooth replacement option available.
If this is the first time you’ve ever had to consider tooth replacement you may be wondering, what is a dental implant? Here’s a basic description of what a dental implant is and how it works.
A Complete Tooth Replacement
A dental implant is an artificial tooth and root system that completely replaces a tooth. The implant portion is an artificial tooth root that is made of biocompatible titanium with threads like a screw. It is surgically placed in the jaw where it fuses with the bone through a process called osseointegration. It takes a few weeks to a few months for the implant to form a solid bond with the bone. A porcelain crown is attached to the top that looks like a natural tooth. The entire dental implant functions like a natural, healthy tooth.
Benefits of Dental Implants
There are many benefits to dental implants, which is why dentists recommend them as the preferred tooth replacement option. Benefits include:
- Bite strength. A dental implant offers the same bite strength and chewing ability as a natural tooth. You can still eat the foods you love and possibly some foods you couldn’t eat before if your teeth were decayed, damaged, or missing.
- Natural appearance. Dental implants look very natural. Even if you have to replace a front tooth, your dental implant will blend right in with your existing teeth. The crown portion is made of porcelain that resembles tooth enamel and can be created to match the color, size, and shape of your teeth.
- Lasts a lifetime. Once your dental implant fully fuses with the jaw bone, it can stay in place for at least 30 years and most likely the rest of your life. The only portion that may need to be replaced after 10 or 15 years is the crown, which is a simple and less costly procedure.
- Preserves jaw bone. One of the biggest benefits of a dental implant is that it preserves the bone in your jaw. When a tooth is missing from your mouth, the support structures for that tooth, which include the jaw bone and ligaments, will start to deteriorate and eventually dissolve completely. But the implant replaces the natural tooth root and preserves the jaw and support structures. This is why it is best to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant as soon as possible.
- Versatility. A dental implant can do more than just replace a single missing tooth. Implants can act as anchors for bridges and dentures when there are multiple teeth missing or severely decayed. Dental implants provide a more solid anchor for a dental bridge that won’t damage your existing teeth. And implant supported dentures are much more secure and comfortable than traditional dentures.
Who Can Get Dental Implants?
Anyone can get one or more dental implants, however, not everyone is an ideal candidate right from the start. If you are replacing one or more teeth that have been missing for a while, there’s a possibility that you have some bone loss in your jaw. This can be corrected with a bone graft. A bone graft procedure involves surgically placing a bone fragment under the gums on top of the existing bone. This not only thickens the bone, but also encourages regeneration of the bone so that it will be ready to receive a dental implant.
Aliso Smiles Provides Dental Implant Services
If you’re considering dental implants as a tooth replacement option, Aliso Smiles provides this service. We have placed numerous successful dental implants for highly satisfied patients. We believe that it is important to replace missing teeth in order to preserve your dental health.