Updated: November 10, 2017
Implants are devices that replace the roots of missing teeth. A dental implant is a titanium post like a tooth root that is surgically positioned into the jawbone under the gum line. They are used to support crowns, bridges or dentures. Because implants fuse to your jawbone, they provide stable support for artificial teeth and feel more natural and secure than other methods of replacing missing teeth, such as dentures.
Dental implants also benefit general oral health because they do not have to be anchored to other teeth, like bridges. You must have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant if you are thinking of it. If your bone is too thin or soft and unable to support an implant, you may require a bone graft. Or you may require a sinus lift, if there is not enough bone height in the upper jaw or the sinuses are too close to the jaw.
When teeth are lost, the area of the jawbone that held those teeth starts to dissolve. Implants help to preserve the bone and the shape of your jaw.
Basically there are 3 types of implant. These include:
A process called osseointegration is used for all type of implants where the bone in the jaw grows into and around the implant.
Root-form implants are the most common type of implant made of titanium which is a special material that the jawbone accepts as part of the body.. It looks like a small cylinder or screw. After an implant is placed in the jawbone, a metal cylinder called an abutment will be attached to it. The abutment acts as a base for a crown, denture or bridge.
Subperiosteal implants are consist of a metal frame that is fitted onto the jawbone just below the gum tissue. The frame becomes fixed to the jawbone as the gums heal. Posts, which are attached to the frame, protrude through the gums. Artificial teeth are then mounted to the posts.
Even though implants are more expensive than the alternatives such as denture or bridge, the investment can pay off in the long run.
Few steps you should take to help ensure success and make your implant last.
Brush twice a day and floss once daily. Using interdental brushes, brushes that slide between teeth, can help clean the hard to reach areas around your implant.
Smoking can weaken the bone structure resulting in implant failure.
Cleanings and a through examination every six months can help ensure your implant is in good condition.
Avoid chewing on hard items such as ice and hard candy as they can break the crown and your natural teeth.