Dental implants are the tooth replacement option that most closely duplicates the structure, look, and function of natural teeth. Unlike dentures, they feature a root portion that is anchored in the jawbone as well as a biting or chewing portion that shows above the gumline. This structure means implants will remain stationary in your mouth and will also help keep your jawbone healthy over time.
How Implants Work
When your oral surgeon or implant dentist places your new teeth, he first puts the root portion of the implant in place. This part of the implant is shaped like a screw and is made of titanium or a titanium alloy. The jawbone will naturally bond to titanium, unlike other metals, so that the implant becomes integrated with the bone. Because of this bond, the new root helps stimulate bone growth whenever you bite or chew.
This structure, which imitates the structure of your natural teeth, means your implants will be secure in your mouth and that your jawbone won’t degenerate over time. Many people who wear dentures long term discover the bone in their jaw becoming thinner, which changes the shape of their face. These changes also make the dentures not fit as well, so they must be refitted or relined every few years.
Deciding on Implants
Dental implants are an excellent choice for tooth replacement regardless of how many teeth you are missing. An implant can be used to replace one lost tooth or to replace all your teeth if necessary. There are some conditions that can make it difficult for implants to heal properly, which reduces the odds of a successful procedure. These conditions include:
- Osteoporosis, if you are taking certain medications to treat this condition
- Insufficient bone mass in the jaw
- Autoimmune deficiency
Healing can also be impeded by smoking, and if you have gum disease, it should be treated before you have implant surgery. If you lack bone mass in your jaw, your oral surgeon might choose to have bone grafts placed before the implant surgery. Call 703-425-5010 to reserve an appointment.