What Is A Dental Implant?

Dental implants are made of various biomaterials, usually titanium. The dental implants used by most dentists and dental specialists are root-form implants, which basically means that they are replacement, or substitute tooth roots. These are surgically placed into the jawbone to anchor permanent replacement teeth. Replacement teeth are then attached to the part of the implant that projects from the gums. Approved and tested implant systems are very successful. In fact, most have lasted thirty plus years with a better than 90 percent success rate. Patients who have good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups can enjoy implants that last a lifetime.

The reason it is so important to replace the tooth root as well as the visible part of the tooth (crown) is that natural roots are embedded in the bone, providing the stable foundation necessary to bite and chew. In essence, the bone holds the tooth roots in place and tooth roots preserve the bone.

When teeth are missing, the bone that previously supported those teeth melts away, or deteriorates. This process is called bone resorption. However, replacing missing tooth roots with dental implants can preserve the bone. Since the bone actually forms a strong bond to the implants, they can serve the same function as natural tooth roots: a strong foundation for biting, chewing, and stimulation for the bone to hold it in place.

Benefits of Dental Implants

  • Overall quality of life is enhanced with replacement teeth that look, feel and function like
    natural teeth
    . With implant supported replacement teeth, the appearance of the smile is more natural and the teeth function more like natural teeth. The result is increased comfort and confidence when smiling, speaking, and eating. If denture and partials are replaced with implant supported teeth, the overall enhancement in quality of life is even more significant, with an ability to eat all types of foods, elimination of messy adhesives, and improved speech, comfort, and appearance.

  • Preserves integrity of facial structures. By preventing the bone resorption that would normally occur with the loss of teeth, the facial structures remain intact. This is particularly important when all of the teeth are missing, as the lower one-third of the face collapses if implants are not placed to preserve the bone.

  • Adjacent teeth are not compromised to replace missing teeth. Tooth replacement with traditional tooth-supported bridges requires grinding down the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth/teeth, so that the bridge can be cemented onto them. This structure can never be replaced and long-term health of these teeth is compromised.
    Partial dentures have clasps that hook onto adjacent teeth, putting pressure on them as the partial rocks back and forth. Eventually these teeth can loosen and come out as a result of this pressure.
    Replacing missing teeth with implant-supported crowns/bridges does not involve the adjacent natural teeth, so they are not compromised, or damaged.

  • Convenience of hygiene. It is much easier to care for an implant-supported crown, which can be cleaned like a natural tooth. In comparison, a tooth-supported bridge requires the use of a floss threader for proper cleaning. It is also easier to clean implant supported replacement teeth than a removable partial.

  • The mouth is restored as closely as possible to its natural state. By replacing the entire tooth, including the root, it is possible to replicate the function of natural teeth, with a strong, stable foundation that allows comfortable biting and chewing. In addition, nothing in the mouth looks or feels artificial. Your smile is improved when replacement teeth look more like natural teeth. This is particularly important in the front of the mouth, where preventing a visible bone defect is critical for natural appearance.