Dental implants can help you smile more confidently. A dental implant is permanent and is an effective, attractive, secure way to fill gaps in your smile—all while preserving your existing teeth.
Dental implants are an effective way to replace missing teeth. When teeth are lost because of disease or an accident, dental implants may be a good option. You may want to choose dental implants if you:
- hide your smile because you have missing teeth
- wear dentures that are uncomfortable
- are dissatisfied with your removable partial dentures
- want to keep your other teeth intact
Many people choose implants to replace a single tooth or several teeth, or to support a full set of dentures. Implants are posts surgically placed into the upper or lower jawbone. They replace the root of one or more missing teeth.
Dental implants are made of titanium (a strong, lightweight metal) and other materials that are well accepted by the body. More than 5 million implants are placed each year by dentists in the United States
Benefits of Dental Implants
- Implants offer firm support to man-made teeth. Dentures, bridges or single teeth attached to the implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth-a very important benefit when eating and speaking.
- This secure fit also helps man-made teeth feel more natural than typical bridges or dentures.
- Some people may find implant-supported dentures more comfortable than dentures that do not use implants.
- Where teeth are missing, dental implants also help keep the jawbone from shrinking.
- Implants are a good value, because they can last a lifetime with good care.
Single Tooth Implants
The single tooth implant replaces the missing tooth’s roots. A single tooth implant is a stand-alone unit and does not involve treating the teeth next to it.
If you are missing one or more teeth, there are many reasons why you should replace them:
- You may not like how the gap looks when you smile.
- Missing teeth may affect how you speak.
- A missing molar tooth can make it harder to chew.
- When a tooth is lost and not replaced, the teeth around it can shift.
- Bone loss can occur around the missing tooth. This may cause the remaining teeth to become loose over time.
- Loss of teeth and bone can make your face sag. You may look older.
Implant-Supported Bridges and Dentures
Dental implants can be used to support a bridge when several teeth are missing. The implant-supported bridge replaces the lost natural teeth and some of the tooth roots. Unlike traditional bridges, an implant-supported bridge does not need support from the teeth next to it.
If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported denture can replace the missing teeth and some of the tooth roots. Because the dental implants integrate (or “fuse”) with the jawbone, an implant-supported denture tends to be comfortable and stable, allowing you to bite and chew naturally.