For patients who are completely missing one or more of their natural teeth, implants can help to replace missing dentition and create a fuller, more beautiful smile. In the past, patients typically had two options available to them when it came to replacing missing teeth. The first was with a fixed bridge, that required surrounding teeth to be filed down to make room for the restoration. The second option was with a partial denture, which is a removable appliance that fills in gaps and spaces. While both partials and bridges are still great options for many people, dental implants are permanently fixed in the mouth and do not require surrounding teeth to be compromised in any way.
What is a Dental Implant and Why Would You Need One?
A dental implant is often made with surgical-safe titanium. The metal is inserted into the gums and into the underlying bone. In under half a year, the implant bonds naturally with the bone to create an incredibly secure and strong abutment for a dental crown to be placed. You may need a dental implant if you are completely missing one or more teeth or if you wear dentures and want a more secured fit.
How Long Will a Dental Implant Last?
The beauty about dental implants is that they are designed to be a lifelong restorative option. Once the implant has fully healed and bonded with the bone, you can expect it to last for the rest of your life. The dental crown that is placed on top of the implant will need to be replaced every few years, but the implant remains the same. It is important to keep up with your bi-annual dental appointments even when you have implants.
Dental Implant Surgery and What to Expect
The surgery to place an implant is relatively easy and straightforward. First, an incision is made and the implant inserted into the gums and bone. The area is sutured and a retainer may be used to keep the implant securely in place while it heals. Once healed, the implant can be used to house dental crowns. The crown is attached to the connector of the implant, creating a beautifully natural look. Having an implant is a safe, reliable way to replace missing teeth without the need for compromising surrounding teeth or having to wear a removable prosthetic appliance.