The Whens and Whys of Dental Implants

Dental Implants

Life has a way of not going according to plan. Sometimes these accidents and uncertainties affect our dental health, including damaged or lost teeth. When that happens, there are several options available ranging from various removable dental prosthetics to dental implants. Dental implants are more common than you might think, but likewise, they’re often misunderstood. So whether you’re considering an implant yourself or just curious to know more, let’s take a look at dental implants and why they’re necessary.

Dental implants are in essence permanent replacements for natural teeth. When a tooth is lost or damaged to the point it must be extracted, there are various options for replacing them. While removable dentures are still very popular, a growing number of people opt for dental implants, which function like natural teeth after they’ve been installed. The process goes generally like this: after a tooth is lost or removed and a dentist decides an implant is necessary. While several types of implants exist, the two most popular are endosteal implants and subperiosteal implants. These differ in the ways in which the implant is attached to the mouth. With endosteal implants, a titanium mounting post is implanted directly into the jawbone. When that has had time to set and heal, a prosthetic tooth is mounted to it to replace the natural tooth. Subperiosteal implants differ in that they attach to the jaw via a metal frame which is mounted to the jaw below the gum line. As the gums heal, the frame bonds to the jaw bone and then serves as the mounting point for the post and prosthetic tooth. In both cases, the replacement tooth has the color, shape, and feel of a natural tooth and functions just like one, allowing the patient to eat, chew, and speak normally.

With that in mind, why might someone elect to get a dental implant? Dental implants serve as replacements for lost or missing teeth, and there are a number of reasons why an implant might just be the best option. For patients with one or more missing teeth and a healthy, strong jawbone and gums, dental implants offer a number of advantages over traditional removable dentures. Dental implants are permanent, and with a bit of care should last a lifetime without repair or adjustment. This stands in sharp contrast to most dentures or other removable dental prosthetics, which require quite a bit more care and occasionally need adjustments. Dental implants also function like natural teeth, allowing a normal range of activities and not creating the discomfort or awkwardness sometimes associated with dentures. While the process for getting a dental implant is a bit more involved than that of getting a removable prosthetic, most patients find in the long run implants are easier and more comfortable than other options.

That having been said, implants aren’t for everyone. Patients with weaker bones or a damaged jaw may not be suitable for dental implants, as may also be the case for folks with serious gum damage. In those cases, the dentist may suggest another option that will fill the same role and allow for replacement teeth.

Hampstead Dental is a leading provider of dental implants for our community. Whether we’re installing a dental implant or performing a routine examination and cleaning, we pride ourselves on addressing the unique needs of each patient. Whatever your oral health needs, get in touch today and we’ll make an appointment as soon as possible.