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What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants offer many advantages over traditional tooth replacement procedures. Gone are the days when patients were forced to simply wear unsightly or uncomfortable caps, crowns or dentures. Often insecure and artificial looking, these solutions left people unable to talk and eat with confidence. Dental implants minimize the risks associated with crowns and caps, while maximizing the rewards by producing natural looking, healthy and most of all safer teeth that let recipients smile with conviction.

Dental implants are essentially artificial teeth that that are placed within the jaw. Although they are typically more aesthetically pleasing that the alternatives like crowns or dentures, the real reason many people are turning to dental implants to replace their missing teeth boils down to safety. Implants are a safer, more tooth-friendly procedure that has little to no adverse effect on neighboring teeth or gums.

When a patient elects to insert a bridge in support of missing or decayed teeth, adjacent teeth are usually altered to support the procedure. Over time this leads to gum and dental erosion. With implants, the replacement tooth looks virtually identical to the real thing, and the patient suffers nothing in terms of later tooth decay.

Today there are two dental implant procedures that most periodontists employ:

Endosteal is the most common procedure. Here, various types of screws, cylinders or blades are selected for insertion directly into the jawbone, with each implant holding one or more prosthetic teeth.

Subperiosteal is a less common alternative that is used for patients who are unable to wear dentures and have minimal bone height. The implants are placed on top of the jaw with the metal framework inserted into gums.

Dental implants typically have a very high success rate, but typically require a patient that is in good overall health. Since we are dealing with invasive surgery, candidates who experience advanced gum disease or weak jaw bones may not be approved for the procedure. But for those that do qualify, they can expect a healthy, natural-looking smile that will, provided they continue with proper dental hygiene, last for years to come.

Authur: Kevin Stith






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