During the last 20 years, dental implants have become a desirable alternative to other methods of replacing missing teeth. Excellent success rates and a range of available options give dentists a variety of new ways to treat and replace lost teeth.
Dental implants play an essential role in restorative dentistry. Because they are permanent prosthetics that are both natural-looking and cosmetically appealing, implants can be used either for cosmetic purposes or for complete full-mouth restorations.
When a single tooth is lost, other teeth surrounding it may begin to shift, resulting in an unsightly appearance. In the past, bridges were the preferred method of cosmetic restoration, but surrounding teeth had to be damaged in order to support the prosthesis. As an alternative, many patients seek dental implants as a means of improving cosmetic appearance following the loss of a tooth. A dental implant has the look, feel and function of a natural tooth, and it's positioning within the bone where the previously extracted tooth was once rooted prevents other teeth from shifting out of place. The result is a visually appealing smile the wearer can be proud of.
Your dentist can evaluate your case and tell you if you are a candidate for dental implants. Structurally, a dental implant is a titanium-based cylinder that replaces the missing tooth root. After a period of time, other parts are placed on the implant to enable your dentist to eventually place a crown (cap) on the implant. Implants can also be used to support full or partial dentures, dramatically improving denture retention and stability.
Most patients with adequate bone mass can have implants, although it varies among individuals. Typically an x-ray and CT-scan are performed to determine if you have enough bone to place the implant, as well as to verify the size and kind of implant that should be placed.