Dental implants are basically an artificial root we place in your mouth to replace the missing teeth area. They are titanium based since the titanium material has shown great compatibility with our body.
We recommend dental implants over traditional dental bridge for the following reasons:
1. No other teeth involved. With traditional dental bridge we will need to prepare the teeth next to the mission tooth area so that we can use them as anchors for the bridge that we need to place. By using implants we can protect the surrounding teeth.
2. Easier to clean. With traditional dental bridge it can be hard to clean underneath the bridge to get food and bacterial out and oftentimes this leads to failure of the anchor teeth or the bridge. With dental implants you can treat them as single tooth by brushing and flossing them regularly.
3. Easier to replace. For a traditional dental bridge, if one part of the bridge is broken or if the anchor tooth needs to come out, you actually need to replace the whole dental bridge. For implants, if the crown is broken, we just need to replace the crown.
Dental implants can also be used to anchor complete dentures. This is a great option for our patients who is experiencing instability with their dentures. Regular dentures just sit on top of our gums and its main source of stability is by suction to the gums. If there is significant wear on our gums, the dentures can become quite loose. With the dental implants as anchors, we can restore and improve the stability of the dentures in the mouth.
Dental implants can definitely be beneficial for us to replace missing teeth, but there are still a few requirements for the proper integration and sustainability of the implants. Most importantly we look at the amount of bone left after the tooth is gone. It is common for people to see some bone loss when a tooth is removed, so if the bone is not wide enough it might not be able to accommodate our implants. All is not lost however, we do have bone graft material and implant site augmentation treatments we can do to prepare the area for proper placement of dental implants.
Each case and situation is different, if you are interested, feel free to ask Dr. Chen for a more in depth discussion on your various treatment options.