Losing a tooth can be very traumatic for most people. It can lead to the loss in confidence, inability to chew and change in facial soft tissue structure. One can lose a tooth due to various reasons such as trauma, decay, or poor gum and bone health in the oral cavity. Dentistry has come a huge way in terms of prosthetic replacement of missing teeth. Today, though crowns and bridges are still the most popular way of replacing missing teeth, the best and the most natural way of doing it is with dental implants.
Why Are Dental Implants the Most Natural Looking Tooth Alternatives?
To answer this, we must first understand what a dental implant is. A dental implant is basically a titanium screw that is placed in the jaw bone in place of the tooth that is missing. This screw is biocompatible and replaces the root part of the missing tooth. This screw integrates with the surrounding bone and other soft tissues in a few months after it is placed. Then the crown is placed on top of it to enable complete functionality of the implant.
Unlike crowns and bridges where the surrounding teeth need to be altered and shaped to provide support to the unit, dental implants can exist all by themselves. The adjacent teeth need not to be touched at all for implant placement. The dental implants integrate well with the rest of the dental anatomy. In fact, a well-healed implant can be mistaken for a natural tooth arising from the jaw.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
As mentioned earlier, there are many removable and fixed options to replace missing teeth. Removable partial dentures, removable complete dentures, and bridges. But, each of these replacement options have one or more disadvantages and all of them require replacement after a few years. But, dental implants are as good as you maintain them. Since they are artificial, they cannot get decayed. Since they do not take support from adjacent teeth, a dental implant is unaffected by any treatment procedure that is performed on its adjacent teeth.
A dental implant is fixed and so is not as cumbersome for the patient as the removable dentures often are. Another main advantage is that after the healing around the dental implant is complete, the soft tissues grow around the implant crown as they would around a natural tooth. So, compared to the appearance of a bridge, the dental implant appears much more natural and often goes unnoticed.
Dental implants today are being used to support complete dentures. This way they become semi-fixed which improves their fitting and efficiency in chewing.
Also read: Oral Health Problems and Diabetes
What About the Dental Implant Procedure? Is It Long? Is It Painful?
The dental implant placement occurs in two phases:
- Placement of the Titanium screw, and
- Placement of the Crown on the screw
The placement of the titanium implant screw is the first phase and the surgical phase. The procedure occurs under local anesthesia and the dentist uses a specialized drill to place the screw in the area of the missing tooth or teeth in your jaw bone. The area is sutured up and allowed to heal for a minimum of three months. During this time the implant screw integrates with the surrounding bone and readies to take up its role as the root.
After 3 months, the surgery site is re-opened and phase 2, also known as the restorative phase, begins. In this phase, the dentist restores the crown part of the missing tooth, which is screwed on top of the implant screw. The gum tissue then grows beautifully around the crown of the tooth giving a natural appearance to the implant as though it was a real tooth.
Since the procedure is performed under local anesthesia, it is not painful. But, owing to the surgical nature of the procedure, one can expect the same level of discomfort as felt during a dental extraction.
Are They Expensive?
There are various types of dental implants which are made by different companies. Compared to the removable alternatives, implants are definitely more costly. However, if you compare the cost: benefit ratio, implants outdo removable options by in a large way. The cost of a single implant is very comparable to that of a 3-unit bridge, both of which replace a single missing tooth. So, if the cost of the dental implant is your concern, you can shed it away and opt for it.
Dental implants are by far the most natural, convenient, long-lasting, comfortable, easy to maintain and efficient alternative for replacement of missing teeth. Now that you know what dental implants is, it is recommended to visit dental implants near me for your dental issues.