Many patients take steps to protect their natural teeth so that they last a lifetime. That’s not always possible, though, and when a tooth is lost, a dental implant may be the next best thing.
Dental implants are made of titanium, which is a metal that is capable of fusing with the jawbone. As a result, dental implants become a permanent part of the mouth.
The implant dentist inserts the dental implant, which is a screw-like structure, into the jawbone. As the patient heals from that procedure, new bone material grows around the implant.
This process, known as osseointegration, allows the dental implant to replace the function of the tooth’s root, which is quite important even though it is not visible in the smile.
Most notably, dental implants prevent jawbone atrophy. The tooth’s root acts as an anchor that stabilizes the jawbone. When that root is absent, the jawbone begins to erode. Over time, the bone shape changes so much that the skin around the mouth becomes pinched and unattractive.
Dental implants are the sole tooth replacement method that mimics the root structure in addition to the tooth’s visible crown, so only dental implants protect the patient against jawbone resorption.
Additionally, dental implants have no impact on neighboring teeth. In comparison, a fixed permanent bridge requires crowns to be placed on the adjacent teeth to hold the bridge in place. This process sacrifices healthy enamel and may compromise the stability of those teeth.
To ensure that dental implants have a long life, patients should dedicate themselves to a thorough oral hygiene regimen that includes proper brushing and flossing. This will help to keep oral bacteria in check, reducing the risk that they’ll attack the gums and bone and put the dental implants in jeopardy.
If you need to replace a missing tooth, consider dental implants. To learn more and to schedule a consultation, contact The Center for Oral Surgery of Las Vegas at 702-367-6666.