Dental implants are widely considered the best option for replacing missing teeth and restoring a healthy smile. But what exactly is a dental implant, and what's involved in getting them?
What are Dental Implants?
Designed to look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Dental implants have been proven successful and promote long-term oral health better than any other type of dental restoration.
A dental implant is a small screw surgically placed into the jawbone that essentially replaces the root of a missing tooth. Over time, usually several months, the screw fuses with the bone as it heals. Once fusion occurs, an artificial tooth is attached.
Dental implants can replace one or more missing teeth, or they can be used to support dentures. They can also provide an alternative to traditional dental bridges.
What Are Dental Implants Made of?
Dental implants consist of three main parts:
- A titanium or zirconia screw
- An abutment or extension that fits onto the screw
- A crown, which fits over the abutment
Titanium is a biocompatible material used in many areas of medicine, including artificial joints, heart valves, and stents. It has been widely used in dental implant surgery because it’s durable, biocompatible, and resists corrosion.
Zirconia implants are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional titanium implants and offer the additional benefits of being metal-free, non-conductive, and hypoallergenic.
Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
You may be a candidate for dental implants if you’re missing a single tooth, several teeth, or even an entire row of teeth. And dental implants can be an excellent option for patients who’ve lost a tooth due to injury or accident.
A good candidate for dental implants is someone with healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant securely. Some medical conditions contraindicate the use of dental implants, but they are rare. Your dentist can tell you if you’re a good candidate for dental implants and which type is the best option.
The Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants look and feel just like your natural teeth. After getting dental implants, you can eat your favorite foods without worry, and you care for implants the same way you do your natural teeth.
A missing tooth can cause your remaining teeth to drift into that empty space, a process called "crowding.” Unlike other dental restorations, dental implants help prevent this by providing an artificial tooth root as well as an artificial tooth in place of the lost tooth.
Dental implants feel comfortable and stable—unlike dentures which may shift and slip out of place. They’re more durable than bridges or dentures, which rely on the adjacent teeth for support. And with proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
The Placement Process For Dental Implants
To place an implant, the dentist first prepares the jawbone to receive the implant. A tiny hole is drilled into the jawbone, and a small screw—essentially an artificial tooth root—is placed into the hole.
The jawbone heals around the screw, fusing the implant with the bone. Once your jawbone has fused with the implant, a process that typically takes several months, the custom-fabricated artificial tooth will then be attached.
Learn More About Dental Implants at Integrated Dentistry
Dental implants can help restore your oral health and your confidence. If you're interested in learning more about dental implants and whether they're right for you, contact us today at 479-333-1300 to schedule an appointment for a consultation.