You may hear the term “dental implant” used to refer to prosthetics that replace missing teeth. However, the actual dental implant is a small, titanium rod that’s inserted into your jawbone, where it replaces the root of a missing tooth. Implants anchor dental prosthetics such as crowns, bridges, and dentures.
Dental implants are the best option for replacing missing teeth because they’re long-lasting. They also provide a secure anchor so that your dental work feels and performs like your natural teeth. Implants are also versatile. You can get just one implant to replace a single tooth, two to permanently hold a bridge, or several implants strategically placed to retain dentures.
The implanted rod offers another benefit: it preserves the health of your jawbone. The jawbone needs stimulation from teeth to stay strong and healthy, so when you lose a tooth (or several teeth), the underlying bone begins to deteriorate. After an implant is inserted, it helps maintain bone density just like the original tooth root.
Dentures can be permanently fixed to implants, or implants can be used to secure removable dentures. Either way, implants provide more comfortable and functional dentures.
A simple surgical procedure is used to place the titanium rod into the jawbone. Then you’ll need to wait a few months for the area to heal. During healing, a process called osseointegration takes place, which means that the bone naturally regrows and fuses to the dental implant.
Bone growth around the implant creates a similar, solid structure that you had with the original tooth root. When healing is complete, your doctor at Chester Family Dentistry cements a custom-made crown onto the implant or secures the bridge or dentures onto two or more implants.
Once dental implants are successfully attached to the bone, only two things are likely to make them come loose: poor oral hygiene and excessive biting force. If you don’t brush and floss, or if you skip dental checkups, you can develop a bacterial infection that may erode the bone and loosen the implant.
Excessive biting force occurs when you grind or clench your teeth. If you have a habit of teeth grinding while you sleep, your dentist at Chester Family Dentistry may recommend a night guard to protect your implants.
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