Virtually everyone who has had dental problems has heard that dental implants are the best option for replacing missing teeth, but do you know why? The advantages that implants have to offer over other teeth replacement options in oral health, appearance, comfort and function are largely due to the way they work – which is quite amazing once you get into the details. Read on to learn how dental implants can offer the look, feel and function of natural teeth, results that are impossible to achieve with any other dental restoration option available today.
Dental Implants: How They are Done
Dental implants work quite differently than other dental restoration options. Rather than just replacing the crown, or visible portion, of a missing tooth like bridges or dentures do, implant-based restoration is done in a manner that resembles the structure of natural teeth, replacing both root and crown.
First, the missing tooth root is replaced with a tiny titanium cylinder – the dental implant – which is surgically placed in the jawbone. That implant bonds with the jawbone – a process called osseointegration – in the same way that a natural tooth root does, creating a solid anchor for replacement teeth.
In traditional, staged implant placement procedures, an abutment – which is a post designed to hold a prosthetic – will be attached to the implant after osseointegration is complete. Then, the replacement tooth or teeth are placed onto the abutment, completing the dental restoration. In procedures that use immediate load implants, these steps may be combined, with implants, abutments and temporary replacement teeth put in place in just one surgical session.
Why Dental Implants Work Better Than Bridges and Dentures
Why does replacing tooth roots mean better dental restorations? Firstly, the jawbone needs tooth roots to remain solid and strong, since they stimulate the production of new bone cells. That’s why bone loss is a problem with dental bridges and removable dentures, which rest on the gum line and cannot provide that stimulation.
Secondly, having an artificial tooth root means that replacement teeth don’t need the support of natural teeth to stay in place, as is the case with traditional bridges and partial dentures. To support a bridge, natural teeth must be reshaped to accept crowns, and partial dentures generally use metal clasps, fitted to adjacent teeth, for support, practices that often damage healthy teeth, making them more prone to decay.
Then there is the reason that people who get dental implants notice most, that implant-based restoration looks, feels and functions like their own natural teeth. Since they are supported by an artificial tooth root that functions much like the original root did, replacement teeth are as strong and stable as natural ones.
That means that dental implants patients won’t have the hassles that come with other options, like replacing failed traditional bridges every five to seven years, or the embarrassment and discomfort of loose, slipping dentures. There won’t be the sort of difficulty biting and chewing that comes with traditional dentures, so dental implants won’t interfere with their ability to enjoy favorite foods. They don’t require special care like traditional dentures do either, just brushing, flossing and regular dental care visits.
So now that you know how dental implants work and their advantages, why would you settle for less than the beautiful, comfortable and natural-looking smile they can provide?
To schedule your dental implant consultation, contact our office at (202) 386-7100.