What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are titanium screws onto which new artificial teeth, such as crowns or bridges, can be placed, or which can help lock-in existing dentures to prevent them from moving while you eat and talk. Implants provide the same function as natural teeth. They even help prevent further deterioration of the jaw bone, which occurs when a tooth is missing. Esthetically, dental implants are ideal teeth replacements. Single implants look like natural teeth emerging from the gums. Your dentist is also able to make implant supported bridges, partials, and dentures look and feel natural, too. Dental implants are designed to be permanent replacements. However, good oral hygiene and regular dental maintenance are important to their well being and longevity. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have specialized training in the complexities of implant surgery and are the best suited to perform these procedures.
Implant Supported Bridges
An implant supported bridge is a restorative solution for spaces where three or more adjacent teeth are missing. This restoration typically requires two implants to support the porcelain bridge. The bridge provides a functional and aesthetic replacement for a patient’s natural teeth.
What are the advantages of an implant supported bridge?
Because of the natural look and feel of the porcelain and the functional stability provided by the implants, implant supported bridges are an effective solution to replace multiple missing teeth.
A traditional bridge uses teeth on either side of the gap where teeth are missing for support. An implant supported bridge uses two or more dental implants rather than the adjacent teeth. When a bridge uses natural teeth for attachment, the natural teeth must be prepped for crowns and are then subject to increased stress which may be damaging – particularly if the existing tooth, roots, or surrounding bone structure are already compromised. A dental implant supported bridge replaced your missing teeth and avoids putting any additional stress on your natural teeth.
Implant Supported Dentures
For patients who are missing many or all of their teeth, implant supported dentures may be an alternative to traditional dentures. This solution requires the placement of two or more implants. In order to replace a full arch denture, a minimum of four implants is generally recommended. Eligibility for this solution is dependent upon a number of factors, with jaw bone density being one of the most significant determining factors.
Traditional dentures rely on an acrylic base that sits directly on the gums, held in place by a paste or adhesive. Using implants as supports for dentures allows for a smaller and more comfortable base and less shifting of the prosthesis during use.
Implants can support both full and partial dentures as well as both fixed and removable dentures. If a removable denture is selected, the denture will “snap” on to the implant rather than requiring the use of denture paste or adhesives. Removable dentures can be taken out for cleaning at night.
Why should I consider implant-supported dentures over traditional dentures?
This technique offers many advantages over traditional dentures.
Easy to care for, this solution can simulate the look and feel of natural teeth and stay fixed in place with the implants acting as anchors. Patients will not experience the typical rocking and movement or gum irritation associated with dentures.
Dental implant placement can also help alleviate the sunken look that can occur with bone loss in the jaw by stimulating bone growth in the area around the implant. This process can also help prevent future bone loss.