A dental implant is an artificial tooth root surgically placed directly into the jawbone where a tooth is missing. Once the implant has healed a bridge or replacement tooth will be attached to the artificial root. Implants provide a good alternative to crowns and bridges due to the fact they are in no way attached to neighboring teeth and thus look and feel like natural teeth.
Dental implants are generally made of titanium a surgical metal that bonds well to bone. The cylindrical implant is designed to integrate into the structure of your jawbone forming an anchor for your replacement tooth. Implanting the artificial root requires surgery usually under a local anesthetic. During surgery an incision is made in the gum to expose the jawbone the bone is prepared and the implant is inserted into the prepared site. Usually this area is left undisturbed for 4-6 months to ensure proper healing. Once the site has healed a second procedure is required to clear the gum away from the implant and fasten a post which will attach to the replacement tooth.
From start to finish the dental implanting procedure can take up to nine months to complete. This lengthy process has a very high success rate about 95% depending on the placement of the implant and is an extremely reliable option for tooth replacement.
The benefits of dental implants:
ﾷ Implants can last a lifetime and do not decay
ﾷ Implants integrate into your bone and prevent the bone loss and gum recession that can occur with other types of tooth replacement
ﾷ Implants look feel and function like natural teeth
ﾷ Implants don't harm your neighboring teeth
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth. Adequate bone in the jaw is needed to support the implant as well as healthy gum tissue that is free of periodontal disease. Those who suffer from jaw clenching or grinding should discuss their options with a dentist as the success rate for dental implants decreases significantly for people with chronic jaw problems.
Dental implants though expensive may actually cost less over time than other tooth replacement options as they don't affect the adjacent teeth and if good oral hygiene is practiced can last a lifetime.