Do you have one or more missing teeth or do you have teeth in need of extraction? Are you looking for a restorative treatment that is aesthetic, durable, and long lasting? If so, then you may have heard about dental implants. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made from titanium that are implanted into the jaw bone and used to secure a dental prosthetic.
Dental implants are highly versatile and can be used to replace a single missing tooth, an entire smile, and everything in between. This is because of the fact that dental implants can be used in coordination with different dental prosthetics. There are three types of dental prosthetics that can be supported by dental implants, including:
A single dental implant can be used to support a dental crown. Although a traditional dental crown is intended to fit over an entire natural tooth, an implant-supported crown fits over the metal connector piece when used in coordination with an implant. In fact, a dental implant makes it possible to use a crown to restore a missing tooth. When having an implant-supported crown placed, you can expect to undergo a minor oral surgery. Your dentist will make a tiny incision in the gums to reach the jawbone, then they will place the implant and connector piece. The implant will be left to heal for about 3-6 months before the permanent crown can be placed. In the meantime, you will be fit with a temporary crown.
When a dental bridge is used in coordination with dental implants, it requires the placement of two implants. This is because the structure of a dental bridge is supported by two traditional crowns mounted over natural teeth on either side of the bridge. However, in the case of an implant-supported bridge, dental implants are placed on either side of the bridge for support. This ultimately allows an implant-supported bridge to replace a row of multiple missing teeth without requiring any natural teeth. This also means that a similar oral surgery is required to place an implant-supported bridge.
When dental implants are used to support dentures, a minimum of four dental implants are used. In some cases, more dental implants may be necessary to provide the proper stabilization. Implant-supported dentures allow for the replacement of an entire arch of teeth. They can be used for the upper arch, lower arch, or for both arches. To place an implant-supported denture, however, any natural teeth must first be extracted. Therefore, implant-supported dentures are generally recommended in cases where there are already multiple missing teeth and/or when the majority of the natural teeth are severely damaged or decayed.
As you can see, dental implants offer a variety of tooth replacement options depending on the dental prosthetic they are used with. Dental crowns are ideal for a single missing tooth, bridges are ideal for multiple missing teeth in a row, and dentures are ideal for replacing an entire arch or mouthful of teeth. Ultimately, to determine which option is best for you, you will need to discuss your options with an implant dentist.