Dental implants are made from a strong, lightweight and highly biocompatible material called titanium. Implants can replace single or multiple missing teeth, or support and stabilise dentures and stop embarrassing and uncomfortable movements during daily life. Replacing missing teeth where there are spaces helps take the stress off your remaining teeth and stops them from wearing and breaking. Replacing missing teeth with dental implants can also prevent the jaw bones from shrinking and degenerating over time. Implants can be a good investment in your long term dental health; with the correct planning and care, they can last a lifetime.
Missing teeth can be the product of an accident or dental disease. For many years, the solutions for treating missing teeth were invasive or uncomfortable. Missing teeth were replaced with a denture (plate), a bridge, or were left untreated with undesirable spaces. You may have missing teeth that have been replaced with uncomfortable dentures, or teeth that look obviously false. Or, you may have become accustomed to hiding your smile because of missing teeth.
With the development of many other titanium prostheses, dental implants began to take a place in the treatment of missing teeth. Emerging as a treatment option for missing teeth about 30 years ago, dental implants are a part of mainstream dentistry today.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
If you are in good general health and your jaw bone is adequate to support dental implants, then you may be a candidate for implants. Age is not a determining factor when it comes to planning for dental implants. Ask your dentist if this is a suitable option for you.
Single Tooth Implants
A single tooth implant replaces a single missing tooth’s roots. You may find that missing a tooth or teeth can affect you in many ways;
- A gap in your smile may affect your self-confidence and comfort in social situations
- Your speech may be affected
- When a tooth is missing for a long time, the surrounding teeth can shift and affect how your jaws function and fit together
- Missing molar teeth make it harder to chew, and can place undue stress on remaining teeth
- Missing back teeth can affect how your soft tissue is supported, making your face look sallow. It can even unnecessarily accelerate the signs of ageing.
Single tooth implants are a predictable way to replace a missing tooth. They help to avoid the need for dentures and don’t damage adjacent teeth in the way that a bridge can.
Implant Supported Bridges and Dentures
Dental implants can support multiple missing teeth. Implant-supported bridges replace missing teeth in a way that does not affect surrounding natural teeth. If you are missing most or all of your teeth, an implant-supported denture can support a full set of teeth, or stabilise an existing denture that moves or is loose. The implants fuse into the jaw bone in a process called osseointegration, which means that the denture can become much easier to bite and chew with.