What are Dental Implants

A quick definition of a dental implant is that it is a tooth replacement. The dental implant solution was introduced in 1951 but has become the new gold standard in the last 25 years. There are more than three million Americans today that have a dental implant and the popularity continues to surge with the number of procedures a year passing 500,000. Let us look closer at why you might need an implant, the traditional options, a summary of the process and how technological advancements have made implants successful.

Why get a Dental Implant?

If you have recently lost a tooth unexpectedly from an accident or it was necessary to have a tooth extracted, it is strongly suggested you fill the gap. If you leave the gap the neighboring teeth will shift and drift into that gap and it will have a negative impact on your bite alignment. A gap in your smile is not natural either so your self-esteem and self-confidence will benefit from filling that undesirable gap.

The Options Available

The conventional or traditional method is to close the gap with a dental bridge. This is when an artificial tooth is suspended in the gap, on top of the gum, secured and supported by the teeth on both sides. Crowns placed on both abutment teeth will be cemented and made permanent. In comparison, a dental implant surgically places a small titanium post into your jawbone for support. Once the post bonds and fuses to the bone an extension is added and then a natural looking crown is placed on that extension. The crown will look natural and can be stronger than a natural tooth because of the artificial root.

The Actual Dental Implant Process

After an x-ray is captured to determine the specific location, your dentist will surgically drill a hole into your jawbone into which the titanium post is placed. It will take a few months for the post to fuse or bond to the bone. The next step is adding an extension or abutment to the post to reach the surface. The last step is the crown, which has been custom designed at a dental lab to match your natural teeth. It will be affixed permanently on to the abutment. Just like that you now have a new tooth that looks completely natural.

The Benefits of a Dental Implant

Dental implants are growing in popularity due to some of the following benefits. First is the aesthetics as they look natural. Second is the confidence regarding your speech. Third is that they are so naturally comfortable compared to a bridge or a removable appliance. The strength and stability make chewing and eating easier. The life expectancy is decades, and the stimulation of the post as an artificial root maintains the health of your jawbone.

Care for your Implant

If you habitually continue to brush twice a day, floss once, and compliment your efforts with a visit to see your dentist twice a year for checkups, you will get decades out of the implant. The crown is ceramic or porcelain so you will need to use common sense and refrain from chewing hard objects.

What is the Dental Implant Procedure