Dental implants offer patients the only structurally complete tooth replacement device available in modern dentistry. The implants themselves, which are small titanium cylinders, function as artificial tooth roots in supporting a single crown or a dental bridge or even a complete denture. In this way, dental implants closely mimic a natural tooth.
The dental implants are made of titanium because that material is biocompatible. That is, over the course of several months after the oral surgeon inserts the dental implant into the jaw, the surrounding bone forms a strong bond with the implant. This process – osseointegration – confers the root-like characteristics on the dental implant.
The biological tooth’s root structure is often underappreciated, although it does perform an important role in maintaining the smile’s stability and functionality.
Therefore, when an oral surgeon places dental implants in your jaw as a treatment following tooth loss, you’ll gain a number of benefits in comparison to alternatives like standard dental bridges and conventional dentures.
For example, dental implants help to preserve the integrity of the jawbone, which will wear away if an absent tooth’s root is not replaced along with the crown. That jawbone atrophy can cause a standard appliance to lose its fit over time, and if the patient still has biological teeth in the vicinity of the absent tooth, they can be at increased risk for tooth loss, as well.
Additionally, a dental implant is better suited to preserve much of the natural tooth’s chewing function. That bond between the bone and the implant allows the tooth to withstand relatively strong chewing forces. As such, dental implant patients rarely have to eliminate certain foods from their diets, which can be necessary for a denture wearer. Of course, dental implants aren’t indestructible, so anything that could damage a biological tooth could harm them as well. So, don’t go trying to crack nuts or open plastic packages with your dental implants!
Patients who want a tooth replacement device that most closely mimics a biological tooth should look into dental implants as a treatment option.
Schedule a consultation at our office, Commonwealth Oral & Facial Surgery, to learn more about this intervention and to determine whether it might be the right choice for you.