Dentists will do everything that they can to save your natural teeth. Unfortunately, sometimes this is not always possible. Although dental implants are not an exact replacement for a natural tooth, they are a close second. If you have one or more missing teeth, or are scheduled for a tooth extraction, you may have already begun exploring your treatment options. If so, you should definitely consider getting a dental implant.
- Firmly anchored within the jawbone and cannot slip
- Long-lasting tooth replacement solution
- Prevents bone loss and changes to the facial structure
- Does not weaken adjacent teeth
A dental implant is a medical device that is inserted directly into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth. Each implant is made up of three parts: a metal screw constructed from titanium, an abutment and a crown.
Titanium is used, along with other metals, because of its superior strength and durability. It is also biocompatible with the human body.
The abutment component of the device serves as a connector between the titanium metal screw and an eventual dental crown that caps the entire structure, allowing you to bite and chew normally.
Getting a dental implant will require multiple dental appointments. At your first visit, your dentist will implant the titanium screw right into your jawbone. Just this one part of the process ensures that you do not undergo a condition called resorption, or jawbone loss. Without the presence of a “tooth” root, the underlying jawbone begins melting away, which can cause teeth to shift into this empty space.
If you have undergone resorption, you may have inadequate jawbone mass to support a dental implant. If so, you can still get one if you undergo a bone graft procedure, which is used to shore up the area so that it can provide firm support for a new implant.
If you have sufficient jawbone mass, you would first receive the first component of the dental implant: the metal screw. It will take a few months for your jawbone to organically fuse around the new implant. When this process is complete, you will return for another appointment to have the abutment part of the structure placed.
Finally, your dentist will place a dental crown onto the abutment. The crown serves to replace the visible part of a natural tooth, allowing you to bite down and chew with normal force.
Caring for a new dental implant is no different than the oral hygiene you should be using for your natural teeth. Continue to brush your teeth and implant at least twice daily, while flossing your teeth at least once per day. Doing so will help ensure that you do not develop periodontal disease, which could otherwise threaten the loss of your teeth and new implant.