Dental implants are made of titanium, which is biocompatible. This means that after an oral surgeon places a dental implant in a patient’s jaw, the surrounding bone fuses with the implant over time. The end result of that osseointegration process is that the dental implant becomes a fixture in the patient’s jaw, allowing it to function quite similarly to the missing biological tooth’s root.
Although we don’t see the roots of our teeth and can take them for granted, these structures play a number of important roles in preserving the stability of the smile. For example, the roots of the teeth hold the jawbone tissue in place, as do dental implants. When roots are missing, which is the case when conventional tooth replacement appliances are used, the jawbone will slowly wither away. That atrophy changes the shape of the jaw over time. Eventually, a conventional fixed dental bridge or denture will lose its fit as a result and will need to be refitted or replaced.
The roots of the tooth also make an important contribution to chewing ability. Because there is a physical link between the dental implant and the jaw, an implant-supported appliance can absorb fairly strong chewing forces, allowing the patient to continue to enjoy a varied diet. Conventional tooth replacements may impact the patient’s ability to chew.
Additionally, dental implants are able to stand alone without support of adjacent teeth. This means that no enamel must be removed from healthy teeth to make room for crowns, as is true of standard fixed dental bridges.
Dental implants offer patients the only tooth replacement solution that is structurally complete, making this treatment option most effective at preserving much of the functionality of the tooth. If you want to learn more about dental implants and whether they are feasible in your case, contact Commonwealth Oral & Facial Surgery to schedule an evaluation.