Dental implants are a reliable and natural-looking solution to missing teeth. If you have lost one or more teeth, you may be considering getting implants. But how do they work, and how do they differ from other tooth replacement options?
Dental implants serve as a fixed and durable replacement for missing teeth, mimicking the natural function and appearance of real teeth.
Components of Dental Implants
Dental implants have three components that work together to replace both the visible portion of your tooth and the root that secures it.
1. Implant Post: Artificial Tooth Root
The key part of a dental implant is the implant fixture. It acts as an artificial tooth root and provides a secure, stable foundation. Typically made of biocompatible materials like titanium, the implant post is surgically placed into the jawbone to mimic the natural anchoring of a tooth.
The process of osseointegration is essential to secure dental implants. Over a several-month-long process, the bone fuses with the implant post. This is critical to ensure the strong and stable foundation for the prosthetic tooth.
2. Abutment: Connecting the Fixture to the Crown
The abutment is necessary to join the dental crown to the post. After the healing process, this small connector is attached to the implant fixture. It sits above the gum line and anchors the dental crown.
3. Dental Crown: Visible Artificial Tooth
The dental crown is the visible part of the dental implant and is custom-created so it matches the colour, shape, and size of your natural teeth. These crowns are commonly made from materials like porcelain, zirconium, composite resin, or metal and porcelain-fused-to-metal materials. The material that will be chosen for your crown will depend on a variety of factors. Porcelain may be chosen for a front tooth that is highly visible and experiences lighter forces, while gold may be chosen for a molar at the back which needs to withstand heavy chewing forces. You and your dentist can discuss which is best for your needs.
How Do Dental Implants Function In Your Jaw?
Because dental implants function as both an artificial tooth root and an artificial tooth, they can more closely imitate a natural tooth, compared to other tooth replacement options like dentures or bridges.
Restoring Natural Teeth Functions
Dental implants enable you to speak and eat more easily. When you have a gap, lisping and difficulties biting and chewing are common, but filling the gap makes these functions easier again. The stability provided by the implant post ensures that the prosthetic tooth doesn’t shift or move during speaking or chewing, so the implant crown acts like a normal tooth.
Preserving the Jawbone
Dental implants go beyond merely replacing missing teeth; they actively contribute to jawbone preservation. The process of osseointegration after the surgery stimulates the surrounding jawbone, preventing bone loss that commonly occurs with tooth extraction. This is crucial for maintaining facial structure and preventing the sunken appearance often associated with long-term tooth loss.
Dental implants securely fill a gap, preventing the neighbouring teeth from shifting towards the space, which helps avoid further bone and tooth loss which can occur with shifting teeth. Finally, the post, as it acts as a tooth root, continues to stimulate the bone around it as you chew and place forces on it, helping to maintain good bone quality.
Benefits of Implants
Implants are a permanent, fixed solution. They are a strong, long-lasting solution. The way that implants work enables them to offer a range of benefits.
They offer the look and feel of natural teeth. Because they are custom-made and permanently secured into the jawbone, they seamlessly integrate with your other teeth. Others won’t be able to notice them, and you can eat and speak without having to deal with the implant slipping. You can also care for them just as you do for your other teeth, through regular brushing, flossing, and regular checkups.
Dental implants offer significant oral health benefits. They don’t rely on adjacent teeth for support, as some bridges and dentures do, so help preserve the integrity of your surrounding natural teeth. Because they fill a gap, they prevent the remaining teeth from shifting towards the gap. Also, because of the post, they stimulate the jaw bone to prevent bone loss. As a result, implants help avoid further tooth loss that can occur due to these concerns.
At Gateshead Dental, we offer dental implant surgeries to help our patients with missing teeth. Book a consultation today to see if a dental implant is a good solution for your tooth replacement needs.