A dental implant is a screw that is surgically implanted into the jawbone. The screw is usually made from titanium, which is a nonreactive metal that will not corrode over time.
For a single tooth replacement, the screw is topped by an abutment so that a synthetic crown can be attached to it. However, when a dental implant is placed, it may be used for more than a single tooth replacement. Here are two ways that your dentist may use a dental implant:
If you are missing a few teeth, one option for teeth replacement is a dental bridge. The bridge is usually designed with a dental crown on each end, and the space between the two crowns contains false teeth.
In some instances, a dental patient may not have a tooth on one or both sides of the gap left by the missing teeth. In such cases, a dentist may suggest a dental implant. A bridge crown can be placed atop a dental implant for support, just as a crown can be placed over a natural tooth for stabilization.
Like conventional dentures, overdentures can be used to replace a large number of missing teeth. However, overdentures are more stable than conventional dentures.
Regular dentures rely on dental adhesive and natural suction to remain in place. Denture wearers may even compensate for a lack of stabilization by using their tongue to help hold a denture in place. The patient may also form his or her words differently to avoid having the denture slip.
The underside of an overdenture contains connectors that attach to existing natural teeth or dental implants. The dental patient can disconnect the overdenture for removal so that the dentures can be properly cleaned.
Before prescribing a dental implant, your dentist will assess the state of your gums and jawbone. There must be sufficient bone density to support the implant screw. In addition, your dentist may ask you questions about systemic conditions that you may have, such as diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugar is associated with a higher rate of implant failure. Your dentist may also ask questions about your tobacco and alcohol use, since smoking and alcoholism can also lower implant success rates.
To learn whether or not dental implants may be right for you, schedule an appointment with a dentist in your area today. He or she can properly assess your oral health to determine if you are a good candidate for an implant.