When you’ve lost one or more teeth, you have a variety of options for replacing them and restoring your smile. For instance, one or two lost teeth may be effectively replaced with a custom dental bridge; several missing teeth may require a partial denture; and complete tooth loss calls for one or a pair of full dentures. In many cases, however, the most beneficial option is a prosthesis that is supported by one or more dental implants—root-like posts that replace the functions of your lost teeth roots. In addition to your restoration closely mimicking the appearance of your natural teeth, the support of dental implants will also ensure that your replacement teeth help preserve the long-term integrity of your smile and oral structures.
Dental implant posts are small posts that are typically made from titanium, which your periodontist or oral surgeon places inside of your jawbone. The biocompatible titanium of the implant allows your jawbone to fuse to the posts’ surfaces, making them permanent parts of your jawbone’s anatomy. One of the most noticeable benefits of dental implants is the sturdy, comfortable, natural feel of your replacement teeth. One of the most profound benefits, however, is the advantage to your long-term oral health. By replacing your lost teeth roots, implants re-establish the vital stimulation that your jawbone requires to promote a healthy flow of essential minerals and nutrients.
Replacing lost teeth is necessary both for your smile’s appearance and your short and long-term oral health. Before recommending implants, however, your general dentist will perform a comprehensive examination to determine the extent of your tooth loss, the underlying cause (such as gum disease), and whether or not you require treatment to address dental disease before replacing your lost teeth. An examination will also determine if your jawbone is strong enough to support the implant posts and restoration, or if you require prerequisite jawbone grafting or a sinus lift first. If dental implants are the right solution, then your dentist will help you determine if an implant bridge or denture is the best option.