What are dental implants?
Dental implants are titanium anchors implanted into the jawbone that hold replacement teeth in place. The root of the implant sits in the jawbone beneath the gum line and the visible tooth, or crown is attached to the root. Implants look and feel much like natural teeth. They support individual artificial teeth, bridges, and dentures.
Who is a candidate for dental implants?
Dental implants are an option for patients who have lost one or more teeth, cannot chew or smile comfortably, or are unhappy with dentures. Candidates for dental implants must be in overall good health and have strong gums and bones. Patients must follow excellent oral hygiene, which includes brushing, flossing, and regular dental examinations. Patients with a high risk of developing periodontal or gum disease, such as smokers and diabetics, may not be good candidates for dental implants. Dentists will review the patient’s oral health and take X-rays to determine their eligibility.
What is the dental implantation process?
The dental implant procedure involves several steps:
The First Step – One or more implants are precisely placed into the jaw bone to mirror the location of the root of the missing natural tooth.
The Second Step – After appropriate healing time has taken place, to allow for the implant to fuse within the bone, impressions of the teeth and bite are taken to custom fabricate a connector post or abutment, and crown.
The Final Step – The abutment and crown are attached to the implant, completing the process.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Dental implants fit securely and allow patients to chew normally. They are cosmetically similar to natural teeth, so patients can smile without being self-conscious. Implants also prevent decay in the jawbone that can accompany tooth loss.
What are the risks of dental implant surgery?
Dental implant surgery is a relatively safe procedure. As with any other surgery, some risks may exist. These risks may include complications from surgery, such as excessive bleeding and a reaction to anesthesia. The dentist will discuss the risks in greater detail prior to the surgery.
Will the new teeth feel natural?
Yes, dental implants look and feel much like natural teeth. They are constructed to mimic real teeth and are fused to the jawbone so they feel secure. Implants are often more comfortable and fit better than other replacement options.
As people age, their teeth tend to decay and weaken at an increasing pace. Fortunately, there are options for replacing lost teeth through reconstructive or restorative dentistry.
What is a dental bridge?
Dental bridges are natural-looking tooth replacements that help to maintain facial structure, reduce stress on the jaw and fill in the gaps caused by missing teeth. Dental bridges replace missing teeth with a short row of prosthetics that rely on the strength of surrounding natural teeth, called abutment teeth, to help stabilize the bite. Bridges also help keep adjacent teeth from moving into the open space left by the missing tooth.
Why is a dental bridge necessary?
Improving both the function and appearance of the mouth are important reasons to wear a bridge. A bridge provides support to the lower part of the face. The loss of a back tooth may result in sunken cheeks, causing the face to look considerably older.
With lost teeth, there is a risk of further dental deterioration. Problems with biting, chewing and speaking may develop. In addition, the patient may experience headaches, muscle pain and an unattractive appearance. A mouth with its full complement of teeth is essential for many daily functions. Furthermore, damaged or missing teeth may also lead to other serious dental conditions such as gum disease, infection and further tooth loss.
What are the types of dental bridges?
There are three types of dental bridges: traditional or fixed bridges, resin-bonded or Maryland-bonded bridges which are usually used for front teeth, and cantilever bridges which are usually used in the back of the mouth.
How is a dental bridge attached?
Obtaining a bridge is typically accomplished in two or three dental appointments. To ensure a perfect fit and correct bite, impressions of the teeth are taken. These are sent to a lab where skilled technicians construct the bridge. Once the dentist has made sure that the bridge fits the patient’s mouth properly, it is cemented to the natural teeth on either side of the gap and a pontic, or false tooth, is affixed. To support the bridge, crowns are cemented onto the nearby natural teeth.
What materials are used for a dental bridge?
Dental bridges may be made of porcelain, gold, alloys or a combination of these. Porcelain is also sometimes fused to metal for both durability and aesthetics.
How should a dental bridge be maintained?
Bridges should be cared for in the same way as natural teeth. The patient should be sure to thoroughly brush and floss around the bridge and surrounding teeth. As always, it is important to practice proper oral hygiene to prevent the build-up of bacteria and plaque on the teeth and gums.