Dental implants are prosthetic devices that serve as replacement tooth roots. Unlike bridges and dentures, dental implants are placed directly in the jaw, where they become a part of the jawbone. Dental implants provide a very sturdy support structure for the replacement tooth, while strengthening the jawbone and reducing the risk of bone loss that can occur after a tooth is lost.
A lot of people are missing one or more teeth, which can lead to difficulties eating and speaking, self-consciousness, an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay, surrounding teeth drifting into the open space and other problems. Replacing the missing tooth with a dental implant can prevent most of these issues and provide greater functionality than traditional bridges and dentures.
The dentist begins the procedure by placing the implant in the jawbone. Once placed, the implant is covered and allowed to heal. Healing times vary based upon the individual patient and the type of implant used. Once the implant has healed, the procedure is completed with the addition of an abutment, upon which the crown or other permanent restoration is placed. Dental implants should be brushed and flossed carefully along with your other teeth.
Dental implants not only act as a cosmetic restoration but they also have the potential to dramatically improve your oral health. Because they integrate with the jawbone, they strengthen bone tissue and help preserve facial shape and appearance. Unlike bridges, they do not require extensive preparation of surrounding teeth, and unlike dentures, they are permanently affixed in the mouth. They look, feel, and function just like your own natural teeth.