When a tooth is lost, often the patient’s primary concern is filling in the gap left behind in the smile. In the past, patients would often turn to a dental bridge, a partial or full denture for this purpose.
The field of implant dentistry vastly improves on those tooth replacement options, though. While the earlier treatments replace only the visible crown portions of the teeth, the dental implant replicates the complete tooth structure, including the root.
Although we often forget about the root because it’s hidden beneath the gumline, this portion of the tooth’s structure is essential to the smile’s stability. The root not only connects the crown to the jaw, but it anchors the jawbone itself.
Dental implants essentially are artificial tooth roots that are made of titanium, which bonds with the bone over the course of several months after it is inserted into the bone by the oral surgeon.
Because of this process, known as osseointegration, implant dentistry offers the patient the most lifelike tooth replacement option available.
The implant’s ability to mimic the biological tooth structure gives patients a number of advantages. As noted above, the root-like structure will help to preserve the quality of the jawbone, preventing further tooth loss. In denture wearers, jawbone atrophy results in the need to have appliances refitted or replaced periodically. Patients with implant-supported dentures typically do not have this problem, as the shape of the jaw remains more consistent over time.
Dental implants can also have a positive effect on a patient’s diet after tooth loss. The implant is able to withstand greater chewing forces, so patients do not have to eliminate all of their favorite foods from their diets.
Just as dental implants are closer to natural teeth structurally, they are more lifelike in terms of aesthetics, too. Furthermore, patients don’t need to switch up their oral hygiene routines to care for dental implants.
By replacing the entire missing tooth, not just one component of it, dental implants offer patients better functionality than other tooth replacement methods. If you need to replace a missing tooth or teeth, talk to our skilled team of oral surgeons about this treatment option. Contact us today at either of our convenient locations to schedule an appointment.