Dental implants, or artificial tooth replacements, are used to offset tooth loss. While the dental implant procedure is typically categorized as a form of prosthetic (artificial replacement) dentistry, it is often associated with the cosmetic dentistry category as well.
There are a number of restorative options for the treatment of missing teeth, though none have proven as effective, in terms of functionality and durability, as implants. In some cases, dental implants are the only logical choice for teeth restoration and supporting structures. Because implants are strong, durable, and natural looking in appearance, they are among the most successful dental procedures performed.
Dental implants are metal posts surgically placed directly into the jawbone and fuse with the bone over time, providing a strong, supporting base. Dental implants can anchor single replacement teeth, bridges that link separated replacement teeth, or bridges that hold a full set of replacement teeth. These anchors serve dual purposes. They can hold false teeth permanently and securely in place, as well as maintain the shape and integrity or the jawbone and facial structure.
Dental implants feel and operate just like natural teeth, so they require the same care as natural teeth. Without continued oral hygiene, the mouth is vulnerable to plaque and gum disease which can threaten implants in the same manner normal teeth would be affected.
It is imperative that gaps caused by missing teeth be filled and dental implants are the most stable, secure, and permanent way to do so. When a tooth falls out, the surrounding teeth begin to shift into the empty space. This can potentially ruin the alignment and orientation of the remaining teeth. Worse yet, the bone structure under the missing tooth begins to deteriorate, leading to a loosening and sagging of the facial structure. Stronger and more durable than their restorative counterparts (bridges and dentures), dental implants offer a permanent solution to tooth loss.
Implants may also be used in conjunction with other restorative procedures for additional functionality and effectiveness. A single implant, for example, can serve to support a crown replacing a single missing tooth. Dental implants can also be used to support a bridge that's replacing multiple missing teeth, or it may be used with dentures to increase stability and reduce irritation of gum tissue.
In addition to feeling self-conscious about smiling or talking, people experiencing tooth loss may also have biting irregularities that have a negative effect on eating habits and can lead to secondary health problems like malnutrition. Fortunately, the problems related to tooth loss can be remedied with dental implants, a fairly simple solution with proven results.
Do you have damaged or missing teeth? Contact Oak Ridge Dental Arts today and let our dental experts evaluate your needs and choose a dental implant treatment that’s right for you!