Several technologies have changed and improved the field of dentistry throughout the years, and few innovations have had such an impact as dental implants. Used to replace the roots of missing teeth, dental implants are durable, long-lasting, and versatile. At LG Dental located at Yonge and Lawrence in Toronto, we are happy to discuss the many ways that dental implants can be used.
A dental implant is a threaded post that is crafted from surgical-grade titanium. As aforementioned, they are designed to replace the actual roots of missing teeth, in contrast to dental crowns, bridges, and dentures, which only replace the above-the-gums portions of the teeth. This is significant for a couple of reasons. First, implants stimulate the nerves in the jawbone, just like teeth roots do. This means that the natural integrity of the jawbone is preserved, and the risk for future bone atrophy is reduced substantially. Secondly, dental implants do not affect adjacent teeth. This means that preserving natural, healthy tooth structure is a priority.
In years past, a dental bridge was the primary single tooth replacement option. In order to place the restoration, the neighbouring teeth had to be drilled and reduced for a proper fit. Today, a single missing tooth can be replaced with a dental implant. This preserves the adjacent teeth and offers a one-tooth solution to a one-tooth problem.
Patients who are missing a row of teeth may require a dental bridge to fill in the gap in their smile. While bridges work well in a number of cases, there is a potential problem when placing them: the longer the restoration, the less predictable the long-term results. Therefore, traditional dental bridges should generally only be used to replace up to three consecutively missing teeth. One alternative to a conventional bridge is an implant-supported restoration. Imagine that a patient has three missing teeth in a row. A traditional bridge could be placed; however, this would require the reduction of the natural teeth on either side of the gap. Now a three-tooth issue has become a five-tooth issue. The alternative is to place an implant-supported bridge. In this scenario, two dental implants would be placed at the far ends of the gap, and a three-unit bridge would be affixed to the dental implants. This eliminates the need to compromise healthy tooth structure, and it also makes treatment more predictable because the restoration is shorter.
If you or someone you know wears conventional dentures, you understand the challenges that can accompany these prostheses. Traditional dentures can shift and slip during normal activities, such as chewing, eating, or speaking. When a prosthesis is secured by dental implants, it significantly reduces this movement, offering greater stability and improved confidence for the patient.
Patients considering teeth replacement with dental implants should be in good oral and overall health. If periodontal disease (gum disease) or tooth decay is present, it is important to have these issues addressed first. Additionally, there must be sufficient bone density, as an implant needs to be totally surrounded by healthy bone tissue for long-term success.
When you are missing teeth, it can affect your overall quality of life. Dental implants can offer a promising solution, and can restore health, function, and aesthetics. To learn more about your treatment options using dental implants, call our Toronto dental office at (416) 224-8300 or contact us online.