What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root surgically implanted into your jawbone. It is a popular tooth replacement option after tooth loss or extraction.
Dental Implant Structure: How They Work
The body of a dental implant consists of three pieces that serve different functions:
1. The implant (or screw) serves as the tooth's artificial root.
2. The abutment is the connecting post between the implant screw and crown.
3. The crown is the 'fake' tooth that rests on top of the abutment. They match the shape and look of your natural teeth.
Four Types of Dental Implants
There are different types of dental implants available:
1. Single Tooth Implant
A single dental implant is ideal when one tooth is missing, and you want to replace it for aesthetics, comfort, and function. It requires one dental crown that connects to the implant screw.
2. Implant-Supported Bridge
Implant-supported bridges are ideal for people with several missing teeth. The implant acts as an anchor for the bridge (instead of a natural tooth). A fixed dental bridge restores function by preventing other teeth from moving. It also improves eating and speaking functions.
3. All-on-4 Dental Implants
All-on-4 implants are recommended when a patient is looking for a secure solution for many missing teeth. This solution restores your entire upper or lower jaw (or both arches). This is a permanent restoration. However, the overdenture can be removed for cleaning and dental exams.
4. 3-on-6 Dental Implants
An alternative to an implant-retained denture is a 3-on-6 implant. It consists of three individual dental bridges attached to six dental implants.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants have their benefits.
- Allows you to chew and speak normally
- Designed to look like your natural teeth, improving your self-esteem
- Reduces stress on your remaining natural teeth by offering independent support
- Preserves bone, reducing the appearance of aging
- Helps prevent loss of jaw height
- Easy to clean and care for
- With proper care, implants can last between 15 and 25 years