Wednesday, 20 August 2008

What Are Dental Implants And When Are They Used

A dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth root placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. They are a great solution to the problem of missing teeth because they have many benefits. In fact, they look and feel so natural that many people that get them don’t even notice them. If you were to get a dental implant, chances are that no one will ever know that you have a replacement tooth.

Dental implants are:

• Cost effective: Dental implant tooth replacements are cheaper than traditional bridgework because only one tooth is replaced and it does not rely on neighboring teeth for support. Traditional bridgework requires the involvement of three teeth to solve the same problem so dental implants usually cost a lot less.

• Safe: No neighboring teeth are altered or even touched in order to support any part of a dental implant, so you do not have to sacrifice the quality of adjacent teeth like you would with a bridge. Additionally, dental implants integrate into the structure of your bone and therefore can prevent the bone loss and gum recession that often accompanies bridgework and dentures.

• Comfortable: Dental implants are secure and comfortable. They do not move, shift, click or wobble like dentures do. You can rest assured that your tooth will not come out since they are permanent fixtures just like a natural tooth.

• Reliable: Dental implants are considered a great option for tooth replacement because of their success rate. Implants look, function and last like natural teeth.

Your dentist can determine if you are a good candidate having a dental implant procedure done. In order to consider having an implant treatment, you must be in good health and have adequate bone in your jaw to support the implant. The implant will be imbedded in the tooth and gum tissue, so in addition to having enough bone, you must have healthy gums as well.

If you are considered a good candidate for an implant, your dentist will create a treatment plan dependent on your specific situation. The total time for treatment can range anywhere between six weeks to over a year. Procedures vary according to how many teeth need to be replaced.

For example, for a single tooth, one implant and one crown can replace it. The dental implant replaces the root and the attached crown replaces the visible tooth. For multiple teeth, implant-supported bridges may be an option. If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant supported full bridge or full denture can replace them. Dental implants will replace both your lost natural teeth and some of the roots.

The procedure followed to place an implant is pretty standard. First, the implant, which looks like a screw or cylinder, is placed into your jaw. You then need to wait two to six months to give the implant and bone time to fuse together to form an anchor for your artificial tooth. During this time, a temporary tooth replacement option can be worn over the implant site. After the fusing of bone and implant, a minor surgery is performed to uncover the implant and attach an extension. After letting this procedure heal for a few weeks, a metal post or abutment completes the foundation on which your new tooth will be placed. The last step is where a replacement tooth (crown) is created for you by your dentist and attached to the abutment. At this point you have a natural looking, functioning tooth replacement that you can expect to last for years to come.

In summary, a dental implant is used in cases where a missing tooth is in need of replacement. It is a procedure wherein an artificial root (implant) is placed in the jaw bone and an artificial tooth is attached to the root in order to form a strong, natural replacement tooth that looks and functions like a natural tooth would.

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