Replacement procedures for teeth have evolved a great deal over the years. From the earliest days of needing to replace all of either your upper or lower teeth with artificial dentures or live with gaps that occurred when you lost a tooth or two, to partial dentures that had wires attached to wrap around healthy teeth and onto crowns or caps. Today, dental implants are a way to have a perfect smile without the inconvenience, and sometimes embarrassment, of partial or full dentures.
The Basics of Dental Implants
A dental implant is basically an artificial tooth root. It performs the same function of allowing a tooth to be firmly connected to the bone. Thee are two different processes used, Endosteal and Subperiosteal. In both procedures, the surrounding bone eventually integrates the implant and provides it a solid base for the new tooth or teeth.
Endosteal implants are the most common. These consist of a metal post that is implanted into the underlying bone. The posts may take one of several different forms, but the basic concept is that of screwing in the new tooth.
Subperiosteal implants consist of a metal framework that is inserted under the gum line, against the bone. Metal pegs protrude from this framework and through the gums. Once healing has taken place, the new teeth are attached.
The method used is dependent on several factors which your dentist will discuss with you at the time of your appointment.
When is an Implant Needed?
Implants are used when one tooth is missing or several teeth need replaced. They can be used to anchor full sets of teeth, but this is a much less likely situation than the others. People can lose a tooth due to accidents, falls, sports injuries or a number of other reasons that damage the underlying root. They are also used when sinus augmentation or ridge modification are needed.
Am I a Good Candidate for Implants?
There are certain conditions that must be in place before a dental implant can take place. These include such factors as:
*You being in generally good physical health
*Your gums are healthy
*There is enough bone to attach the implant to for stability
If you have any type of gum disease, an implant won’t be performed because there will be a greater chance of infection. If the tooth or teeth being replaced have been absent for a great length of time, the bone may have deteriorated so much it can’t anchor the implant. After a thorough medical history and exam is composed, your dentist will be able to tell you if you are a good candidate for the procedure.
Dental implants enable you to have a full set of teeth. This enables you to maintain a beautiful smile without being self-conscious of gaps from missing teeth. Being permanently attached, your implant will last for many years as long as you care for it as you do your natural teeth, which includes regular cleaning visits to the dentist as well as brushing and flossing.