A Dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is implanted into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Implants are usually made from a metal called titanium, which is readily accepted by the body. Implants have the look and feel of natural teeth.
What Happens When You Lose Teeth:
Missing one or more teeth will result in an unnatural and aesthetically unpleasing smile. When you lose teeth you lose bone which compromises facial esthetics.
When the tooth is in the mouth it stimulates the surrounding bone with each bite. This preserves the bone integrity by exercising the bone. When one or more teeth are lost, the bone is not stimulated any longer and it begins to weaken. Shrinkage of the bone continues with time and can result in serious complications.
When missing all of the teeth the jawbone will continue to resorb and get smaller. With severe bone loss the patient may not be able to wear dentures because there is not enough bone to hold the dentures.
The Opposing Teeth
When there are no opposing teeth, the tooth can over erupt due to lack of resistance from opposing teeth and this may lead to occlusion problems (teeth do not come together properly). Also, the gums can also be affected due to the malposition of the tooth.
The Adjacent Teeth
When one or more teeth are lost, the teeth start to shift, drift and over erupt into the open spaces or the path of least resistance. This may result in occlusion or periodontal problems, which can lead to further tooth loss. These occlusion problems if left untreated can lead to interference in the bite, which can to muscle and joint problems (TMD).
There are different treatment options depending on the individual case:
Replacing a single tooth: If you are missing a single tooth, one implant and a crown can replace it.
Replacing several teeth: If you are missing several teeth, implant-supported bridges can replace them.
Replacing all of your teeth: If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported full bridge or full denture can replace them.
- Missing teeth can often be replaced by implants that act like roots of teeth. After implants are fitted and healed in place, crowns or dentures are attached to them. Implants survive best in a healthy environment.
- Any tooth decay or gum problems need to be corrected before implants are placed to give them the best chance of success. Sometimes treatment is needed before you are ready for implants.
A key factor to implant success is the quantity and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed. When theres not enough bone present, it may be necessary to create new bone to fill the missing areas allowing implants to be fitted. A variety of techniques are available to do this.
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