Dental implants are high functioning “fake” teeth used to replace any areas with missing teeth. There are several reasons a tooth could be missing- extraction, trauma or congenitally missing teeth are the most common. An implant mimics the natural structure of a tooth, consisting of a titanium root that sits snugly in the jaw bone and a crown that sits on top. If properly cared for, an implant can last a lifetime.
Dental Implants Act as Natural Teeth
When there is a missing tooth or teeth, eating, talking and even smiling can be affected. Once a dental implant is placed, the natural function and aesthetic is returned to normal. Most patients can’t tell the difference between the implant and natural tooth.
Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss
When a tooth or teeth are lost, the natural effect of the bone is to resorb away as there is nothing there for it to support. In the first year after tooth loss, there can be as much as 25% loss of bone in the area. If a dental implant is placed, the bone will integrate around the titanium root and stay in place. Dentures (partial or full) which are the alternative to implants, can accelerate the loss of bone structure.
Dental Implants Can Prevent Facial Sagging
The cheeks and lips naturally sag into any gap that is created from missing teeth. A full set of teeth aid in maintaining the shape of the face and this can change when teeth are lost. Dental implants help to preserve the natural shape of the cheeks, jaw and face.
Dental Implants Keep Adjacent Teeth Stable
Teeth will naturally drift and move when they are left without opposing teeth. If a tooth is lost on the top, often the lower opposing tooth will over erupt as there is nothing to bite down against. Also, if a neighbouring tooth is lost there can be drifting, forward or backward. When dental implants are placed, they allow the rest of the teeth to maintain the correct positions.
Dental Implants can be used in Full Mouth Cases
Just as a dental implant can help to restore a single tooth, they can also be used to restore an entire arch of teeth. Traditional dentures rest directly on the gums and put pressure on the bone. Implant supported dentures disperse the pressure from the surface of the bone to the entire bone structure, preventing bone resorption and irritation from occurring.