What are Dental Implants?
If you are missing teeth and are generally in good health, dental implants are a great solution for replacing teeth. These implants can work with dental bridges, partial and full dentures, and crowns depending on the type of treatment you and your dentist decide to go with. A dental implant is a substitute tooth root that is supported by your jawbone to secure the replacement crown, denture, or bridge. There are two types of dental implants available: subperiosteal, which rests on the bone and endosteal, which is inserted in the bone.
Subperiosteal implants are mostly used for those who have minimal bone height and are unable to wear dentures. The posts of the framework stick out from under the gums to secure the replacement. The replacement is placed on top of and connected to the posts.
The endosteal implant is the most universally used implant to date. A screw type or press fit cylinder is surgically placed into the jawbone creating a support structure for the replacement. Sometimes the replacement is attached during the implant procedure. Often times you have to wait four to six months to allow healing before the replacement is attached. The healing time does vary per patient depending on how extensive the procedure was.
One of the benefits of dental implants is that it can help prevent bone loss, or stop bone loss that has already begun. You see, bone loss will occur over time even if you are only missing one tooth. This is because jawbone support is stimulated by the presence of teeth. When teeth are missing, that support is not needed and so your jaw structure begins to change. An implant however, simulates your natural teeth and so prevents bone loss. Another great benefit about implants is that they can look like your natural teeth, so you can be confident in your new smile.