Dental implants are becoming the standard of care when it comes to replacing a missing tooth.
A dental implant is the part that replaces the root of the tooth, and looks like a large metal screw when you see them on x-rays. They are usually made of titanium.
Implants can sometimes get placed at the same time as when the tooth is extracted. Implants are left alone for about 3 months to allow them to “osseointegrate” (bone forms around the implant to solidify the implant’s stability). After they have osseointegrated, a crown is made and cemented or screwed onto the implant.
Patients with dental implants generally say that they feel like their own teeth, since they can floss around them like natural teeth, can eat the foods they used to eat, and can speak and smile with no missing teeth to worry about.
Replacing missing teeth is important for the stability of your bite and to maintain proper alignment of your remaining teeth and maintain the bone in the jaw. All of these benefits impact your ability to eat, speak, and smile.
Sometimes, when a tooth has been missing for a while, it may be needed to graft bone into the area prior to implant placement. The specialist who will be placing the implant will let you know if this is the case for you as they do a thorough clinical and radiographic assessment to make sure you are a good candidate for implants. This assessment may include special imaging of your jaw bone (cone beam tomography).