In the past, dentures and dental bridges were the most commonly-used solutions to treat tooth loss. With advancements in dentistry, dental implants are now considered a better method for replacing missing teeth. Dentures and dental bridges still remain effective and affordable solutions, but dental implants are better at restoring function and appearance to a smile.
A dental bridge is usually prescribed for replacing a single lost tooth. A dental implant is also effective and can offer additional benefits. A single implant post is used to support a dental crown, which is made to match the remaining teeth.
Partial dentures can be used to replace multiple missing teeth. Because they are removable, they are fairly easy to clean and care for. However, they come with some dietary restrictions as they are not as stable as natural teeth. Dental implants can instead be used to support the prosthetic teeth, which can be used like natural teeth.
First of all, it’s important to replace missing teeth because leaving a gap in a line of teeth can allow the remaining teeth to shift in their positions, which can potentially change the bite of the teeth and even facial structure. Also, the bone in that area begins to deteriorate because it is no longer being stimulated. Dental implants provide stimulation, preventing bone loss and thus protecting the health of the natural teeth.
Dental implants are a good choice for replacing lost teeth because, while other treatments may need repair or replacement after a while, implants are a lifelong solution. Additionally, because the implant is inserted directly into the jawbone, it offers more stability than dentures or bridges, allowing patients to use their teeth with more confidence.
There are different types of dental implants that can be used, depending on the severity of tooth loss, but regardless of which type is used, the procedure remains basically the same. There must be sufficient bone density in the jaw bone, and the gums must be healthy in order to receive a dental implant. The implant (a small metal post) is surgically implanted into the jawbone so that it can act as a tooth root. The jawbone will fuse around the biocompatible implant and a dental prosthetic, usually a crown, will be attached. An entire line of teeth can be replaced using dental implants; a line of prosthetic teeth (dentures) can be held in place using four to eight implant posts.