What is a Dental Implant?
Losing a tooth is a common issue experienced by about 69% of adults aged 35 to 44. The studies state that about a quarter of Americans lose all their 32 teeth by age 74. Replacing the lost teeth is necessary to prevent loss of occlusion (contact between upper and lower teeth), distribute the masticatory or chewing forces, and prevent degeneration of the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint).
Many types of artificial teeth can be used to replace the lost natural tooth. These include removable partial or complete dentures that can be worn or removed at the patient’s convenience or mostly removed during the night at the time of sleep. Then comes the fixed dentures or dental bridges that constitute a set of three crowns or tooth caps to replace a single lost tooth. One artificial tooth has to be replaced, and the two adjacent supporting caps are fabricated to form the complete set of a dental bridge. They are usually made up of materials like full metal, porcelain fused to metal, all zirconia, or all E-max caps or tooth crowns to match the color of your tooth.
The latest advancement in artificial tooth replacement is a dental implant. These titanium-based implants are held into the jaw bone with the help of screws that hold the crown or tooth cap above it. The tooth cap’s material depends on the patient’s choice, but mostly zirconia crowns are preferred as they match the color of natural teeth to a much greater extent and have excellent tensile strength to withstand the chewing forces in the mouth.
Dental Implant vs. Dental Bridge
In the case of dental bridge fabrication, the cutting of adjacent natural teeth is done to fix the overlying dental caps from above, while with dental implants, there is no damage done to the natural teeth. The site with the lost tooth is only manipulated surgically, and the cap is fixed above the screw of the dental implant inserted inside the bone.
With dental implants, the results of the prosthetic dental treatment are predictable, with an improved facial appearance, speech, ability to chew food, and overall oral health. Moreover, on the one hand, where dental bridges mostly last for about 5-7 years, a dental implant has at least a life of about 15 years.
The cost, number of missing teeth, and patients’ oral and general health status are the primary deciding factors for the fabrication of a dental bridge or an implant.
Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
As in dental implants, the implant screws are inserted surgically inside the jaw bone, and the appearance and strength of the dental implant mimic that of natural teeth. The functioning and looks of the implant give a sense of self-confidence to the patients. Also, dental implants protect the jaw bone’s strength, integrity, and vitality. It does not allow the bone to resorb after the tooth is lost naturally or extracted (removed intentionally by the dentist).
As the adjacent teeth are not involved, and their support is not required with dental implants, they help protect the surrounding teeth in function and prevent any damage to them. The dental implant can stand on its own at the site of the lost natural tooth and has a long life without much maintenance except for regular brushing and dental flossing.
Dental implants need surgery to insert an implant inside the jaw bone despite all the advantages of implants for strength, appearance, and other factors. Though it is a minor surgical procedure with significantly fewer incidents of risk factors, the placement requires advanced surgical and technical skills.
Also, the placement procedure of dental implants could be more convenient compared to other fixed dental prosthetic treatments, and the time taken for the procedure from start to finish is also more when compared to dental bridges. This is because, after surgically placing the dental implant inside the jaw bone, the surgical site is left for healing for some time, i.e., a minimum of 3 months. However, the dentist five a temporary crown until the area is entirely ready to insert the permanent artificial tooth.
This blog intends to inform you of the facts related to dental implants as a part of prostheses in your mouth. Broadly, among the fixed dentures, there are two options to replace a lost natural tooth: a dental bridge and a dental implant.
If time and cost are not a constraint, along with good oral and general health conditions, you should go for dental implants as they have much better results in terms of life, strength, and appearance than any other dental prosthetic treatment.