A dental implant is an artificial tooth root a periodontist places into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth, bridge or denture. Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
While high-tech in nature, dental implants are actually more tooth-saving than traditional bridgework, since implants do not rely on neighbouring teeth for support. Dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth. You know that your confidence about your teeth affects how you feel about yourself, both personally and professionally. Perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth. Maybe your dentures don't feel secure. Perhaps you have difficulty chewing. If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to smile, speak and eat again with comfort and confidence, there is good news. Dental implants are teeth that can look and feel just like your own. Under proper conditions, such as placement by a periodontist and diligent patient maintenance, implants can last a lifetime.
What can implants do?
- Replace one or more teeth without affecting bordering teeth
- Support a bridge and eliminate the need for a removable partial denture
- Provide retention for a denture, making it far more secure and comfortable
The alternatives to implant replacement of missing teeth are bridges and dentures.
Most people that choose a removable partial denture are doing so for financial reasons. A denture can replace one or several teeth for a fraction of the cost of an implant-based restoration. Unfortunately, this cost savings comes at a significant cost to your comfort and the longevity of your remaining teeth. A denture requires a significant amount of metal and plastic to be secure in your mouth. All this can be uncomfortable in your mouth, not to mention unaesthetic. Wearing a denture can also harm the teeth being used to anchor the denture, by making them susceptible to cavities and periodontal disease.
The second alternative to implants is a bridge. Although this treatment is far less bulky, it does require the irreversible removal of tooth structure from the adjacent teeth. Ultimately, this preparation of the adjacent teeth weakens them and makes them more susceptible to cavities and periodontal disease.
There are times when a bridge or denture makes sense, but this needs to be carefully analyzed by your dentist or periodontist. We consider each person individually and try to suggest treatments that take their unique circumstance into consideration, whether it is financial, psychological or clinical.
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