In an ideal world, there would be no teeth lost after all your baby teeth fall out. Unfortunately, many adults lose teeth later in their life that they did not wish to lose.
Many times, the lost teeth are a result of poor hygiene, medical conditions, accidents or injuries. No matter the reason for the loss, missing teeth can lower self-confidence and keep people from smiling.
Luckily, with the help of artificial teeth called implants, lost teeth can be easily replaced, and a smile can be brought back to life.
If you’re dealing with a lost tooth and wondering about your implant options, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to break down each type of implant and what they work best for so that you can find the solution to your dental problems and recover the smile you once knew.
What Is a Dental Implant?
Basically, a dental implant is an artificially made tooth root. It’s surgically inserted into the jawbone to function as a normal root to create a solid foundation for a tooth.
Many people incorrectly believe that the implant is the entire tooth, from the root to the crown. In fact, it’s just the root portion. The tooth portion seen from inside the mouth is called a crown. This is separate from the implant itself.
Who Needs Implants?
Implants may be needed for adults who have lost an adult tooth. However, not everyone will be a good candidate for implants. There are many factors to consider before determining if an implant is right for you:
- Jawbone Structure – For a successful fusion and implant, there must be enough depth inside the bone for the implant to be screwed in without further damaging your nerves or health.
- Genetics – Even if your jaw is in good health, if you have a condition like diabetes, osteoporosis, or hemophilia, you may not be the best candidate. These conditions can cause poor wound healing, which greatly decreases the chances of the procedure’s success.
- Oral Health – If the reason for the lost teeth is because of poor oral hygiene, your dental professional must consider whether or not you’re a good implant candidate. Implants require just as much care as real teeth, and poor hygiene can lead to gum disease around the implant, causing it to fall out.
- Lifestyle – If your lifestyle includes smoking or poor attendance at your dental appointments, a dental implant may not be the right solution for you as both behaviours can lead to the failure of the implant.
Types of Implants
There are two primary kinds of implants: endosteal and subperiosteal. There are also two other kinds of implants, mini and instant, that could be an option for you.
Dental implants typically made of titanium and shaped like small screws are of the endosteal type. These are placed at the jawbone and are the most common implant used. Once this implant has fused into the jawbone and the tissue around it has healed, the dental post is then fitted, and the crown can be added.
These are dental implants placed above or on the jawbone rather than in it. The healing process will allow the metal and the bone to fuse together to create a secure foundation. This kind of implant is used especially on patients without a healthy enough jawbone for the endosteal option.
Mini implants, though a few decades old, are still a relatively new dental procedure. These implants act similarly to regular implants, but they are about half the size and are much less invasive.
This option works best for those who have less bone structure and need to heal faster. These don’t provide the same kind of stability that you will find from endosteal implants, but they are a faster and less expensive option.
This option is not widely offered as it only works in a few cases. This kind of implant can be placed in the jaw nearly immediately after tooth loss occurs. Instant implants will only work if the bone and gums around the tooth are intact and infection-free.
When Extra Support Is Necessary
If you have a jawbone that cannot support dental implants, there are several techniques that can be used to restore the jawline, rebuild the bone, and create a sturdy enough foundation for an implant. These techniques include:
- Sinus Lift – When the sinuses are augmented or elevated by adding a bit of bone just below the sinus. Done in cases where missing upper back teeth cause the natural bone to deteriorate.
- Bone Augmentation – When additives and growth factors are used to fortify the jawbone to the point where it can support implants.
- Ridge Expansion – When the jaw is not wide enough for implants, bone graft material is added to a small space on the top of the jaw to create more room.
Dental implants are made with two main materials: zirconia and titanium.
- Zirconia, a classified ceramic, is a good option for those who prefer not to have metal in their mouth.
- Titanium alloy is the other material option for your implants. The additional metals in the alloy allow for a stronger implant base. This is the most common material option, having been used worldwide for far longer than Zirconia has. The titanium option is also cheaper and allows the surgeon a bit of extra control during the fitting. When getting titanium isn’t possible, however, Zirconia is still a good choice.
The Final Product
No matter which type of implant you end up choosing, once the procedure is finished and the implant has healed, you will be on your way to a new artificial tooth that will fill in your smile and raise your self-confidence. With proper consideration and the help of a good doctor, an implant can completely change the way you look and feel.
If you’re seeking a dental implant to restore your smile to its former glory, call Crescent Heights Dental today! We can set you up with a consultation appointment and address any questions or concerns you may have. We look forward to taking care of your smile.