A dental implant is a titanium fixture used for the purpose of replacing lost teeth. They are an alternative means of tooth restoration.
The titanium fixture serves as the root for the new tooth. Studies in the 1960s and 1970s showed that the titanium actually fuses with the jaw bone. The recipient of the dental implant then has a permanent replacement, as opposed to removable dentures or bridges.
To understand dental implants, it helps to first understand the basic make-up of a human tooth. Your teeth are made up of two parts. The part you see is called the crown and is located above the gumline. The second part is the root. Roots hold your teeth in place and extend into your jaw bone. Dental implants recreate both parts.
As mentioned above, a dental implant is a titanium post. This post becomes the root for your replacement tooth. The titanium post is implanted into your jaw bone. This metal post bonds with your jaw bone. The fusion process is called “osseointegration.” After the fusion has occurred, the post can then be covered with a prosthetic crown.
A dental implant is actually composed of three distinct parts:
- The titanium post explained above; shaped like a screw
- The abutment – the abutment is placed over top of the post; the abutment is what the crow fits over
- The crown – which looks and functions like a natural tooth
Titanium is the metal of choice for dental implants. Of all the materials tested over the years, it has proven to be the most conducive to osseointegration.
Osseointegration requires the help of osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are cells located in your bone marrow. To put it simply, osteoblasts are responsible for your bone formation. One of the primary responsibilities of osteoblasts is repairing bones that have been damaged. When the titanium post is screwed into your jaw bone, osteoblasts “heal” it.
Dental implants belong to the category of prosthetic and cosmetic dentistry. Crowns are individually crafted by expert technicians. The size, shape and color of your teeth are unique. To make your implant look as natural as possible, technicians make crowns that visually blend in with the rest of your teeth.
In addition to aesthetic benefits, dental implants are also a means of restoring functionality. Each of our teeth serves a different purpose. In some cases, removable dental solutions are not adequate to restore full use of a given tooth or teeth.
Sometimes, a dental implant is used in conjunction with another restorative technique. For instance, a dental implant can make an excellent anchor for a bridge. Similarly, some bridges require the presence of certain teeth in order to be fit. Dental implants can replace the missing teeth so that the given restorative can be utilized. Additionally, adding one or more dental implants can help make dentures more comfortable and secure.
On the most basic level, dental implants restore confidence. A beautiful smile boosts your self-esteem and self-confidence. A dental implant is a little titanium rod that can change your life for the better.