What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a prosthesis that replaces a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. It has components that mimic the whole tooth structure which is the root and the crown. The root portion is made out of a titanium screw that is inserted inside the jaw bone and will be used to support a crown, bridge, or denture. It looks and acts like a real tooth and with proper care and maintenance, it can last a lifetime.
If a person has one or more missing teeth due to whatever reasons such as decay, trauma, or mobility, an implant is one of the best alternatives to replace those missing teeth. Previously, patients with bone loss that leads them to lose their teeth were unsuitable candidates for dental implant treatments. However, as technology advances, there are solutions for these patients to receive their implants.
Benefits and Advantages of dental implants
There are many benefits and advantages of dental implants. The first is that they look, feel and function like our natural teeth. Chewing will be made easier with implants as opposed to dentures and bridges. This will thus increase appetite and reduce pain and gum irritation.
Longevity of an implant
The longevity of an implant is also a bonus. If a dental bridge can last about 10 years, an implant can last longer; 25 years until a lifetime with proper care. Because the implant is made out of titanium and is integrated within the jaw bone, it is sturdier in strength. Titanium is also a biocompatible material meaning it will not be toxic to the bone and its surroundings and will not be rejected by the body.
Reduce bone loss
Another advantage of an implant is that it can reduce bone loss. Once a tooth is extracted, the alveolar bone or the bone holding the tooth will start to resorb over time due to lack of stimulation. Bone loss can occur within the first 6 months after extraction. An estimated 50% of bone loss happens in 12 months after extraction and 30% of which happens within the first 12 weeks. Bone loss can also affect the outer physical appearance of one’s face by appearing more sunken and saggy; making the person look older than they are. By placing an implant, the titanium screw acts as the root and will ultimately slow down the resorbing process by stimulating the natural bone growth through proper chewing function.
An implant is a much better choice compared to a denture
Dentures cause the opposite. It can accelerate bone loss due to the dentures becoming loose over the years. This causes them to rub against the gums and ridges and eventually leads to further bone loss. An implant-supported denture is a better option if you have multiple missing teeth. They are more stable than regular dentures and will give more comfort during chewing and talking.
Prevent shifting teeth by tooth extraction
The dental implant can also prevent your other teeth from shifting into the space left when a tooth is extracted. When remaining teeth start to move to close the gap, this can lead to a multitude of problems such as crooked teeth, misaligned teeth, sensitivity, and traumatic bite during chewing. These effects will cause more problems when we want to replace the missing tooth or teeth in the later future. The traumatic bite can also lead to temporomandibular joint problems and will result in pain and headaches.