Missing teeth can interfere with your smile, speaking, and eating. They can also lead to further dental issues as your remaining teeth start shifting into the gap. Whether you are missing a single tooth, several, or all your teeth, finding a replacement solution is essential to your happiness and dental health. However, often the idea of having “false teeth” keeps people from seeking replacements. Modern tooth replacements have made improvements in leaps and bounds not only in appearance, but also in comfort, bite, and permanence. Here we review dental implants, and why they are the best solution for missing teeth.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants provide a permanent solution for tooth loss. They consist of “fixtures” implanted directly into your jawbone that provide highly effective support for your artificial teeth. The posts use materials that actually fuse to your bone, providing a secure root that mimics your natural tooth root. The tooth replacement is then affixed either as full or partial dentures, crowns, or bridges. They are by far the most realistic, natural-looking teeth, offering the same appearance and bite.
What are dental implants made of?
As mentioned, there are two main components to dental implants. The first is a post, which is the “implant” part of the tooth. It is made of titanium that is corrosion-resistant and “biocompatible”. As a result, the titanium actually fuses with your jawbone and is not rejected as other metals might be when inserted. This provides the toughest and most realistic support for your new tooth. Your tooth can be made of various materials, but porcelain tends to be the material of choice. It offers the most realistic look and is also highly durable.
How are dental implants inserted?
Dental implants require several appointments including:
If we decide you are a good candidate, we will perform a dental exam and X-rays to generate a computer-generated model of your teeth and mouth. We will then create a treatment plan for the implantation process.
2. Bone graft
The first step varies and is based on your jawbone health. If you require a bone graft to provide more support for the posts, this will be the first stage of the implants. The tooth is removed, or if it is missing, the jawbone is prepared. The bone grafting is then performed to add enough volume to the jawbone. You then require healing time before the next step.
At this stage, you receive an anesthetic to keep you comfortable during the implant surgery. Incisions are made in the gums to expose the jawbone where holes are then drilled for the posts. We use your dental models to determine where to drill. Once inserted, sometimes it is possible to place temporary partial dentures in place. However, you require healing time that takes several months for the posts to fuse with the bone before your permanent replacements are inserted.
4. Teeth placement
The final step is to insert your new teeth once the implants have fused and your gums have healed. In some cases, an abutment must be inserted at a second surgery, but more often, they are included at the time of the post insertion.
Crowns, Bridges, or Dentures
The type of artificial teeth you require is based on how many teeth are missing. While all implants require the posts, the actual teeth can vary and include:
Crown: A crown is used when you only require a single missing tooth.
Bridge: If you have a string of two teeth or more in a row, you can use a bridge. In this case, a few implants are required to hold the bridge and teeth in place.
Full or partial dentures: When you are missing a full arch, such as your entire upper or lower teeth, you require either a partial denture for just the top or bottom, or a full one for both top and bottom. Unlike removable dentures, these are secured with implants, so they look and feel like natural teeth and are just as permanent!
How do implants look?
Dental implants are by far the most natural-looking teeth replacement. The porcelain is extremely realistic and even reflects the light like actual teeth. They also are very secure, so there is no worry of them moving or loosening when you eat, smile, or laugh.
How do implants function?
Not only will your teeth look real, but they will also feel as such. You will find it easy to chew, speak, and even care for them just like your natural teeth. In fact, we highly recommend them as the best tooth replacement option, as they also stimulate your jawbone like your natural tooth roots. This helps avoid bone loss, which is common to denture wearers.
How long do implants last?
As long as you care for your dental implants like your natural teeth, your new teeth can last a lifetime (depending on your age).
What are the benefits of dental implants?
There are many benefits to dental implants including:
- The natural aesthetic for enhanced self-esteem.
- The titanium implant fuses with the bone in your jaw, making the implant feel as natural and permanent as your own teeth.
- With a dental implant, you’ll never have to worry about being embarrassed by your smile.
- Healthier eating, as they don’t move around like dentures.
- Long-lasting, durable teeth that remain secure.
- They hold up to everyday wear and tear.
- They require the same care as your natural teeth.
- No fussing with glues or bonding agents like dentures.
How do I care for implants?
With proper care and maintenance, your new teeth will last for years to come. Avoid smoking to enhance the integrity of your implants, and stick to a strict oral hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash is very important to avoid failed implants due to bacteria build-up.
If you would like to discuss dental implants with our team at Guelph Family Dentistry, contact our office or speak with us at your next dental appointment!