Dental implants are an option modern dentistry offers for replacing lost teeth. If you've lost a tooth (or a few teeth) due to injury or disease, dental implants can be extremely beneficial to your smile and your oral health.
The dental implant is a synthetic tooth root that looks like a post. This "root" is surgically placed into the jawbone. The “root” is usually made of titanium: the same material used in many replacement hips and knees. Titanium is used because it is well-suited to pairing with human bone. A replacement tooth is then fixed to the post. The tooth can be either permanently attached or removable. Permanent teeth are more stable and feel more like natural teeth.
The ideal candidate for implants is a non-smoker who has good oral health, including a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw, and healthy gums with no sign of gum disease.
Implants Can Replace Single or Multiple Teeth
If you are only missing one tooth, one implant/replacement tooth will be sufficient for you. If you are missing several teeth in a row, a few strategically placed implants can support a permanent bridge (a set of replacement teeth). If you have lost all of your teeth, a full bridge or full denture can be permanently fixed in your mouth with the strategic placement of a number of implants.
Advantages of Implants vs. Dentures or Bridges
Because conventional bridges and dentures are not fixed to the bone they can be unstable. This can make it difficult to eat or smile with confidence. Implants not only look more natural, but they feel and act more like normal teeth. Their stronger biting force is a particular advantage of implants. Because they don't rely on neighboring teeth for support, they will not harm the health of your natural teeth. While bridges are only expected to last seven to ten years, implants will typically last a lifetime.
Consider your replacement teeth to be the same as natural teeth. They require the same daily brushing and flossing, and the same amount of regular checkups. Just like your natural teeth, the better you take care of your replacements, the longer they will last.