A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically placed in the jawbone to replace a missing tooth’s root. Dental implants allow patients to have teeth restored without removing tooth structure from adjacent teeth. Having an implant placed will typically help you prevent the loss of bone in the area. Dental implants are placed sub-gingivally or beneath the tissue level.
If there is insufficient bone in the patients mouth the dentist may suggest a bone graft. On the upper arch (maxilla) if the bone is near the patient’s sinus or the bone is too thin the dentist/surgeon may recommend a sinus lift. A critical factor regarding bone strength and failure rates in dental implants, recognized in studies, is whether or not the patient has ever been a smoker. Smoking has been shown to increase the failure rate of implants.
The implant once placed and healed will be solid and immovable, unlike natural teeth which have some flexion or give due to periodontal ligaments. The failure to give with the surrounding teeth will be taken into consideration once the implant is restored with a crown, bridge, hybrid or denture. A single tooth restored with a dental implant is far more comfortable and natural feeling to the patient once restored compared to a bridge. It will also allow for easier hygiene care compared to a dental bridge. Proper hygiene maintenance is critical to the long term success of the implant.
Tip: Speak with the surgeon or dentist placing the implant and use one of the more popular manufacturers. Abutments, the material that will be created to fit on top of your implant, for the top manufactureres can always be found. This is important should your restoration need redone in 10 -20 years. It also helps open the lines of communication between the patient, dentist and surgeon/periodontist.