Dental implants are the top choice when someone has a missing tooth or multiple teeth. A dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth root (often titanium) that is placed in the jawbone. It is essentially a screw that is permanently attached to your jawbone. On top of the implant itself the surgeon attaches a connector, called an abutment, to securely hold the artificial tooth in place. The abutment is actually removable by the doctor, however is not able to be removed by yourself. The prosthetic tooth connects to the abutment, and this is the part that you can see. Also referred to as a crown, the prosthetic tooth is matched to your mouth to insure a good fit, a natural feel, and a natural look. It is generally made of zirconium or porcelain to give the most natural look while being durable.
The processes of fitting the implant and matching the tooth to your mouth generally involves a series of x-rays to determine the quantity of bone you currently have, as well as dimensions of your current teeth. X-rays also help the doctor determine the placement of your sinuses and nerves, so as to ensure these are not disturbed by the new implants.
Why are they so popular? One of the major advantages of dental implants is that they feel and look natural. They do not move around, or cause difficulties when chewing (like dentures may). In addition, dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that actually preserves the natural bone and promotes the growth of the bone. The implant itself, over time, fuses to the jawbone. Implants have been found to be extremely effective and long lasting, meaning fewer additional dental visits and complications.
Dental implants are ideal for people with missing teeth or chronic teeth issues. They can be used to replace a single missing tooth, multiple teeth, or even full upper or lower row of teeth. In cases where full upper or lower teeth are replaced, a doctor may use an all-on-four procedure. In this case, they place only four implants in the jaw, and attach a full row of teeth to this. This provides sufficient support for functionality of the teeth, while limiting disruption to the underlying jawbone. Overall, dental implants can be a useful choice to consider in cases of missing or failing teeth.