Many people have one or more missing teeth. Poor oral hygiene, genetics, trauma, and many other factors can lead to tooth loss. While you may want to just hide your smile forever, you can replace your missing teeth and get your confidence back.
One of the best ways to replace missing teeth is with a dental implant. Before you make your appointment, however, make sure you understand these common five dental implant terms you may hear your dentist say.
The term implant specifically refers to the titanium fixture goes in the jawbone to act as the fake tooth's root. Once the procedure is fully complete, you shouldn't be able to see the implant at all. If you fail to care for your oral health after the implant, you can develop gum disease around the implant.
Over time, as the gum recedes, you may be able to see the titanium implant. If this happens, you should see your dentist as soon as possible to see if they can do anything to fix the implant and prevent it from failing.
The implant doesn't protrude past the gum line, so it can't support the new fake tooth. Instead, the dentist places an abutment first. This abutment is just a small piece of metal that attaches the fake tooth (crown) to the titanium root (implant). The crowns are commonly made from ceramic, which gives it a natural, healthy appearance.
Your dentist may also mention abutment teeth (if you are considering other tooth replacement options too). A dental bridge attaches directly to the abutment teeth instead of to an implant.
3. Endosteal Implant
Most dental implants are endosteal, which means the implants are inserted into the jawbone, which creates durable fake teeth. Candidates for an endosteal implant need healthy jawbone tissue, which may not be the case if you have missing teeth. The dentist can perform a bone graft to add volume to the jawbone, but this adds money and time.
Instead, your dentist may suggest a subperiosteal implant. These reside under the gum tissue but above the jawbone. The result looks the same as other implants, but they are less durable because they don't rely on the jawbone.
Your teeth are constantly under pressure when you eat or grind your teeth. Ligaments, however, hold healthy teeth tight so they can withstand the pressure. Dental implants don't have ligaments, but they can experience osseointegration.
Osseointegration simply means the titanium implant has the properties to fuse to bone tissue. This helps strengthen the bond between dental implant and jawbone so your fake teeth are nearly as strong as natural healthy teeth.
Besides replacing single missing teeth with a single implant, you can also choose implant-supported bridges or dentures. These are a better choice than lots of individual implants because they use fewer implants, which cuts costs.
An implant-supported bridge works the same as any bridge, except it uses titanium implants instead of abutment teeth. You can remove implant-supported dentures for cleaning, and they snap into place in the mouth, which prevents them from slipping around or falling out when you open your mouth to laugh or speak.
You don't have to live with missing teeth thanks to dentures, bridges, and dental implants. Many people prefer dental implants because of their durability. Now that you know more about what you can expect when getting a dental implant, you can determine if it's the right choice for you.
For more information about dental implants or other tooth-replacement options, or to find out if they work for you, contact us at Affordable Dental today.