A dental implant consists of tiny screws that go directly in your jawbone to provide support for dentures, crowns, or a dental bridge. Dentures are artificial teeth to replace natural teeth lost to disease or trauma. Compared to other types of dental restorations, implants offer patients the following:
- Prevent facial sagging
- Prevent remaining teeth from shifting towards the spot left open by the missing teeth
- Allows for stronger bite power and more complete chewing of food
- Does not interfere with the production of speech sounds
- Are a permanent solution to the problem of tooth loss
- No worries about your replacement teeth falling out as you might have with removable dentures
- Prevents additional loss of bone
- No need to buy separate cleansing tablets and soak overnight as with typical dentures
While getting dental implants is worthwhile in the long run, it does require patience throughout the procedure. You need to allow adequate time for your jaw to heal and for your remaining bone to fuse with the replacement tooth roots. In the meantime, Dr. Patton is happy to provide you with fitted removable dentures.
Understanding the Dental Implant Procedure
To understand how dental implants work, it is helpful to having a working knowledge of tooth structure. The crown of your tooth is what you can see. It is covered by enamel. The root of each tooth lies beneath your gum line. Dental implants replace both your tooth and its roots. Dr. Patton installs small titanium posts in each part of your jaw where you will be receiving replacement teeth. This serves as its new anchor.
Titanium is the ideal material to use in the implant procedure because it can fuse directly to your jawbone. The name of this process is osseointegration. The fusion means that your body won’t reject the replacement tooth roots as foreign invaders.
Options for Varying Degrees of Tooth Loss
You can receive a dental implant even if you only have one missing tooth. The benefit is that the neighboring teeth don’t have to provide support to brackets holding the new tooth like they do for dental bridges. When you are missing two or more consecutive teeth on the same arch, Dr. Patton will provide you with a fixed dental implant. This can also provide anchoring for future restorations. He can assist you if you no longer have any of your missing teeth and want to replace them with dental implants as well.
In addition to all the other benefits, dental implants can last a lifetime as long as you practice good oral hygiene. With removable dentures, you may need to replace them in 10 to 15 years.