Posted on: 9 April 2015Share
Are you tired of seeing gaps where your teeth used to be? Have you wondered what you can do to bring back your old smile? Dental implants may be for you. But what are dental implants, and how can you tell if you are a good candidate?
Dental Implants Defined
A dental implant is just a replacement for your missing tooth or teeth. A single dental implant can replace one tooth or several teeth. Dental implants that replace more than one tooth at a time are called a bridge.
Dental implants attach to your jawbone. This attachment is done by embedding metal posts into the jawbone. Once the posts are in place, the single tooth or multi-tooth replacement is attached to the metal post or posts.
There are two different types of dental implants:
- In-the-bone (endosteal) implant – the more common type of implant has the metal posts implanted into the bone so the replacement tooth or teeth can be attached to the posts
- On-the-bone (subperiosteal) – this type of implant is less common. These are used for patients who need replacement teeth but whose jaws may have insufficient bone for an implant. A metal framework that sits on top of the jawbone is used to anchor the replacement tooth or teeth
Candidates for Dental Implants
The easiest way to find out if you are a good match for a dental implant is to ask your dentist. Your dentist may refer you to a specialist, known as a periodontist, for evaluation.
In general, a periodontist is looking for a few factors in deciding on your fit for the procedure:
- Sufficient bone density in the jaw – for the more common dental implants to work, there has to be enough bone in the jaw to anchor the implant
- Healthy gums – the gum tissues have to be able to heal and withstand the trauma of the implants
- Good oral hygiene – oral hygiene involves keeping your teeth and gums clean on a daily basis
- History of regular dental visits – a track record of consistent dental visits shows that you are committed to keeping your teeth and gums healthy
Why Dental Implants Instead of Alternatives?
Many people find that dental prosthetics are uncomfortable. This discomfort can be due to sore spots, loose devices, or even a feeling that the prosthetic cause gagging. A permanent solution avoids these possible discomforts.
Dental implants provide permanent solutions to missing teeth. An expert like Thomas H. Seal DDS can help you determine if dental implants are right for you.