With regular dental care and some luck, you may never be a candidate for a dental implant, but knowing about them ahead of time will help inform your decision should the need ever arise. So, what are implants, how do they work, and who needs them?
How Does a Dental Implant Work?
Dental implants are artificial tooth “roots” placed into the jaw to help hold a replacement tooth, bridge, or even dentures, in place.
Typically made of Titanium, which the jawbone will accept or fuse to, dental implants are most often used for patients who have somehow lost a tooth or teeth – whether through accident, injury, or even periodontal disease.
Implants can also help stop periodontal disease from forming by eliminating gaps in the mouth where disease and infection are likely to occur. They prevent the shifting of teeth, which can cause more long-term damage.
Types of Dental Implants
There are two types of implants: Endosteal and Subperiosteal.
Endosteal (in the bone) implants are typically screws, blades, or cylinders that are surgically placed directly into the jawbone. Generally used to support bridges or removable dentures, this type of implant is the most common.
Subperiosteal (on the bone) implants are placed on top of the jaw with posts that protrude through the gum to hold a dental prosthesis in place. These types of implants are used for patients who are unable to wear conventional dentures.
Sometimes an implant is used to anchor orthodontia in place as well.
Dental Implant Candidates
An ideal implant candidate is usually in good health overall, including orally. If you should need an implant, your dentist will likely refer you to an Endodontist, Oral Surgeon, or Periodontist, a professional who specializes in gum tissue and bone in the mouth, to make sure that you have the best care team in place.
Healing time varies, as do success rates – and general post-surgical care is a key component to success.