Dental Implants are one option to replace a missing tooth or teeth. In this procedure, a small titanium shaft replaces the root of the missing tooth. It is surgically implanted into the bone and allowed to heal. The bone grows around it forming a tight connection, which additionally slows or stops the bone loss that occurs when the root of a natural tooth is missing. Once the implant has healed (usually 3 to 6 months), the dentist works to attach the replacement tooth onto the top of the shaft. This permanent solution has some advantages over bridgework in that it does not need to use the surrounding teeth for support.
Implants can also be used as support for an implant bridge or denture. An implant bridge is an alternative to partial dentures, and has several advantages. First, there is no adjustment period for the patient to get used to wearing the partial denture. Once the work is done, the patient only feels teeth, not the metal supports of the partial denture in the mouth. Second, the implants slow the bone loss that usually occurs when teeth are missing. Third, they don’t have to be taken out for cleaning!
Implant supported dentures are an excellent way to make loose or ill-fitting dentures more stable and allow the patient to chew and function better and more comfortably. As discussed above, a titanium shaft is placed into the bone and allowed to heal. After healing, attachments are placed onto the titanium shaft and counter attachments are placed into the denture. The denture then "snaps” into the implants and is much more stable than a traditional denture. Also, the implants help maintain the bone levels around them, so there is less bone loss in the mouth when implants are present.
Bone Resorption is a common complication of tooth removal. So getting an implant to replace the missing tooth is typically a good choice.