Dental implants are the closest alternative to natural teeth developed so far. They consist of a metal post that is inserted beneath the gum tissue and into the bone. Over time, it fuses to the bone in your jaw and acts like the root of a tooth. Typically a crown is then fabricated to match your existing teeth and is attached to the implant post. Alternatively, implants can be used to support dentures, in which case a complete denture is fabricated as the final restoration to be attached to the implant posts.
Most patients find that implants are a good replacement for lost teeth. However, implants are not an option for everyone. Because implants require surgery, patients should be in good health overall and have healthy gums. Furthermore, patients either must have adequate bone to support the implant body, or be good candidates for surgery to build up the area needing the implant.
Implant candidates must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene as well. Some people think that once they have implants, they do not need to worry about their hygiene. This is not true! Even though the implant and crown replace a tooth, the bone surrounding the implant is still susceptible to diseases such as peri-implantitis, a disease that affects the implant in much the same way that periodontitis affects natural teeth.
Reasons to consider an implant include:
- Most similar to the look, feel, and function of natural teeth
- Stops the movement of teeth adjacent to the area associated with the missing toot
- Adjacent teeth do not have to be involved in the placement procedure
- Can help prevent the absorption (shrinkage) of the jawbone typically associated with tooth loss
- Permanently secured into place, so it does not come loose with chewing
- Cleans the same way as natural teeth
The disadvantages of implants include:
- More expensive than removable partial dentures and fixed bridges
- May not be covered by your insurance
- Requires the patient to be in good health
- The implant placement and healing period takes longer and requires more visits than alternatives
Options to Consider
Talk to Dr. Victor to see if implants are a good option for you.