We depend on our teeth for so many things. Chewing, biting, speaking, smiling, whistling – the list goes on. Despite how well we take care of our teeth with regular brushing and flossing, they can become chipped, cracked, or eventually worn down. Worse yet, tooth decay causes some people to lose their teeth all together. When this happens, the issue isn’t only cosmetic. If the structure of your teeth becomes compromised, it can affect the health of your entire mouth.
Until recently, the only treatment options available for those with missing teeth were dental bridges and dentures. Luckily, advancements in dental implant technology have made it easier than ever to replace damaged or missing teeth for a sturdy, comfortable, and natural-looking smile.
What is a dental implant?
Consider the structure of a natural tooth: The crown projects into the mouth while its root descends below the gums into the jaw where it is firmly fixed in the bone. A dental implant mimics this design. However, a small metal post is surgically positioned in the jawbone, taking the place of the root. The crown, which is affixed to the top of the post, is made to match the shape and color of a natural tooth.
How do dental implants work?
Over time, the metal post of a dental implant fuses to your jawbone. This creates permanent, stable support for artificial teeth. When compared to a bridge or dentures, dental implants are much more comfortable, as they don’t slip or shift in your mouth. They look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth.
What are the different types of dental implants?
Those with missing teeth have a number of options when it comes to dental implants. Here’s a quick overview of the major types:
Single Tooth Replacement Dental Implants
As the name suggests, a single tooth replacement uses one implant attached to a crown. Made in a dental laboratory, the crown is the part that shows in your mouth. It’s fabricated to match your existing teeth.
Fixed Multiple Tooth Replacement Dental Implants
With a fixed multiple tooth replacement, multiple teeth can be replaced with multiple implants. The implants support custom bridgework that can be as small as a three-unit bridge or as large as a full arch of teeth.
Removable Implant-Supported Tooth Replacement Dental Implants
If all of your teeth are missing, multiple implants can be placed to support dentures. These removable teeth, which have attachments that clip into place on the implants, are often used in those with extensive tooth, bone, or gum tissue loss.
Anchorage for Tooth Movement Dental Implants
Dental implants can also be used in orthodontics. Whether standard, mini or micro-mini, an implant can be placed during orthodontic therapy to provide stable anchor units to straighten crooked teeth more quickly and easily.
Are you considering dental implants?
If you’re overwhelmed by options for replacing your damaged or missing teeth, don’t worry. At Sedation and Implant Dentistry Irvine, our dental implant expert, Thomas Gonzales D.D.S. is highly trained and skilled, and has the expertise to advise you on the best treatment for your unique case.