Dental implants allow people to avoid wearing dentures to replace their missing teeth. They look as natural as original teeth, restoring the smile along with the ability to chew normally. They even feel like natural teeth, which is a big plus for most users.
A dental implant starts with the root. A titanium post is, as the name implies, implanted into the gum to secure the new tooth or other above-the-gumline dental work. The jawbone grows around the post to bond it into position. Having an implanted “root” not only keeps the visible dental work place, it also prevents the jawbone deterioration that normally accompanies missing teeth. Appearance-wise, this makes the face fuller and therefore younger-looking.
The implantation of a post is generally followed by a three to six month waiting period while the jawbone fuses with the titanium of the post. During this time, a soft diet is prescribed, and patients may wear temporary dentures if the degree of tooth loss calls for it. The permanent crowns, bridgework, or other such appliances that complete dental implants are designed during this waiting period.
Once the posts are properly fused into the jaw, they are uncovered and special collars are attached. Any hardware needed to secure the final prosthetics is also attached at this time. The new crowns or other attachments are then made from impressions taken of the mouth. Finally, the crowns are attached and are ready to serve the same as natural teeth.
Dental implants can be used as a base for many types of tooth replacements. A crown can be attached that effectively makes the entire unit a replacement tooth. In the case of several missing teeth, bridgework can be attached to the implants. Dentures can be attached to them too, eliminating the pain and aggravation caused by ill-fitting removable sets. The most common procedure, however, involves finishing off the posts with crowns.
Most dental implant patients are very happy with their new teeth. They look like the regular ones as well as feeling natural. With proper care, they will stay bright and last for years, while giving the face a full and youthful appearance.