Missing teeth have an impact on your appearance, oral health and overall health. Even one missing tooth provides an opportunity for food particles to get trapped in the empty socket, increasing the risk of decay in adjoining teeth. Missing teeth also affect your ability to chew your food, which can have an impact on your overall nutritional status. Dental implants can solve all of these problems, without the disadvantages of a bridge, partial or complete dentures.
What Are Dental Implants?
An implant is used to replace the root of the missing tooth. Made from titanium – a metal that will bond with your jawbone – the implant is inserted into the jawbone by a dental or surgical specialist. A second piece called an abutment is attached to the implant and a prosthetic tooth fitted over the abutment. Most people who are in good general health can have implants. If your jawbone is too narrow or has shrunk, you may need a bone graft prior to the implant.
Who Can Perform Dental Implants?
General dentists don’t usually insert implants, so a referral to a dental or surgical specialist is required. Periodontists and oral surgeons (also known as oral and maxillofacial surgeons) have the necessary training and skill to place implants in the jawbone. You may also need a referral to a prosthodontist, who specializes in the manufacture, shaping, fitting and placement of crowns, bridges or dentures on the implant after it heals.
How Will I Benefit From Dental Implants?
The first and most noticeable effect of an implant is cosmetic. The prosthetic tooth is shaped and colored to match your remaining teeth to look very natural. Oral hygiene becomes much easier, as a dental implant is cleaned just like your own teeth. One of the less visible effects of a dental implant is that it stimulates healthy bone formation in the jaw – an effect you don’t have with partial or full dentures. The chewing motion you obtain with an implant mimics that of chewing with your own teeth and that is what helps keep the bone strong and healthy.
While dental implants may be more expensive than other options and may not be covered by your dental plan, it is typically a one-time expense, as implants can last a lifetime if well cared for. Implants are not subject to loss and are less subject to breakage from being dropped; nor do they require a separate cleaning procedures as partials and dentures do. To explore the benefits of dental implants, discuss them with your dentist. You may want to browse the Chrysalis Dental Centres website for additional information.