Living without your teeth doesn’t have to become your reality. With the advancements in dentistry, you can once again enjoy the full function of your digits with dental implants. Before committing to the procedure, though, you’d like to know what the different parts are and how they work. Your local dentist weighs in to explain the inner-workings of the dental implant, so you can make the best decision for your restoration needs.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a surgically inserted titanium post that attaches to your underlying jawbone and helps to support your facial structure by applying a healthy amount of tension. This, in turn, ensures that your jawbone will continue to produce new, healthy bone cells.
Each part of the implant process plays an integral role in fully restoring the function of your teeth, maintaining your oral health and improving the aesthetics of your smile.
The post is the part that acts as a substitute for your missing roots. It attaches beneath the gumline into the bone and eventually fuses with it through a process called osseointegration to form a sturdy foundation. The fact that titanium is commonly used is integral to the success of this phase of the process. That’s because it’s considered to be biocompatible and generally causes few allergic reactions when inserted.
After an initial phase of healing, an abutment is attached to the implant. It serves as a connecting piece that allows a fixture to be securely fitted to the implant. Usually, it will be made from titanium as well to ensure the most secure and lasting fit.
The fixtures are what will be seen above the gumline and act as the substitutes for your missing teeth. They include the following:
- Crown – If you have a single tooth missing, a crown will be used to cap your implant and fully restore the function of the tooth. Made from tooth-colored porcelain, it leaves you with a natural looking smile.
- Bridge – If you have two or more teeth missing in a series, your dentist may fit you with a bridge, which is a group of porcelain prosthetics arranged as one fixture. By attaching to an implant, it will help to provide a level of support that’s only rivaled by your natural teeth.
- Implant-Supported Dentures – Instead of resting above your gums the way traditional prosthetics do, implant-supported dentures securely fasten to your implants using either snaps or a bar to hold them in place. Patients who have this procedure done won’t have to worry about their appliances slipping or falling out of their mouths.
How to Learn More About the Process
Your education about the different parts of the dental implant doesn’t stop here. When you visit your local dentist, he or she will walk you through the entire process, so you can make the most informed decision.
About the Author
Dr. Anthony Bailey earned his dental degree from the Medical College of Virginia School of Dentistry. He has since gone on to provide nearly 40 years of expert care to Bedford citizens. A lifelong learner, Dr. Bailey still pursues continuing education to stay abreast of the complex changes in the world of dentistry. He uses his commitment to excellence to provide patients with successful dental implants at Peaks View Dental and can be reached for more information through his website.