Lancaster dentist Dr. Matthew Kingston explains how implants work and how they can be used to replace missing teeth or anchor bridgework and dentures
Smiles and Your Health Topics: Dental Implants –
A Confidence-Boosting Solution for Missing Teeth or Loose Dentures
Are you missing one or more teeth? Are you self-conscious about your smile? Do you currently wear a partial or full denture that is loose or irritating to your mouth and gums? If so, tooth replacement with dental implants may be a life-changing solution for you!
When teeth are lost, many aspects of day-to-day life change. Eating becomes more difficult. Speech can be affected. And self-confidence can falter. Additionally, when teeth are lost, surrounding teeth can shift and can also be at a greater risk for fracture, as these teeth take on a greater workload in chewing and biting. Replacing missing teeth restores confidence, function and the ability to eat normally again.
A dental implant is a fixture that replaces the missing root portion of a tooth. It is made of titanium (the same material used in hip and other joint replacements), so it is totally biocompatible. Once this fixture is integrated into the jawbone, it can be used to support a single crown. Multiple implants can be used to support a bridge, a full or partial denture, or even a full arch of permanently-installed teeth.
In the case of a single missing tooth, a dental implant is often the best option for replacement. Unlike a bridge or a removable appliance, an implant retained crown allows the replacement of the single tooth with no adjustments to or stress placed on surrounding teeth.
For multiple missing teeth in the same area, an implant bridge is a great option. One implant is placed at either end of the open space. These act as anchors, and a bridge of crowns can be screwed or cemented onto the implants.
Many people who wear full dentures struggle with retention and stability of the denture. The denture can move or shift during speech, or come loose at inconvenient times, such as when eating or at social events.
The placement of two, four or six implants in the jaw (with corresponding snap attachments placed into the denture) provides a very tight-fitting denture that feels snug and improves eating, speech and confidence. This can be done for the top or bottom teeth (or both). In some cases, the retention of an upper denture with implants is so great that we are able to remove the pink acrylic that covers the roof of the mouth.
An additional option for patients who have lost all of their teeth is a non-removable appliance that holds a full arch of teeth. This can also be done for the top or bottom teeth (or both). Four or six implants are placed in the jaw. The non-removable appliance is supported by the implants and held in permanently with screws. This appliance feels like natural teeth and is very stable. Often a person who has become frustrated with a removable denture elects this option, as it fully restores the most natural feel of having teeth.
Overall, dental implants are an excellent option for replacing one or more teeth. Ask Dr. Kingston if dental implants would be a good option for you.