Dental implants are the latest and greatest technology in the world of dentistry. They can be found in a range of styles, and new materials are being tested each day. Essentially, they are a full replacement for an adult tooth that has been lost due to decay, injury, or simply to death of the tooth.
Dental Implants Explained
When we say that dental implants are a replacement tooth, we don’t just mean the top, usually called the “crown”. Dental implants are designed to replace the entire structure, including the roots and the crown. Now, it is not as simple as just slipping a new tooth into the space left by an old one, however, and it pays to understand how dental implants work.
Most are crafted in two separate pieces. A durable shaft is made and inserted into the jawbone by the dental specialist. This is to replace the roots, which are very important even if they are never seen.
Once the patient’s jawbone has properly accepted this shaft; usually several weeks or months later, a new crown is bolted into position on the head of the shaft. This is a cunningly crafted artificial tooth that is colored and sculpted to match the surrounding teeth.
Roots and Their Importance
Why bother with all of this fuss? Why replace the roots at all? While many of us think of “roots” as something that holds a tree or plant in place and which supply nutrients, when it is the roots of a tooth, there is more to the story. To keep it simple, the roots of the teeth interact with the surrounding tissue – including the gums and jawbone.
When you lose even a single adult tooth – including the roots – the body begins adjusting for this loss. One of the things that it does is to begin absorbing some of the bone in the area where the tooth has been lost. This causes all kinds of problems with the rest of the mouth.
The missing roots and crown also allow the other teeth to begin to shift into new positions, which can easily misalign the bite and lead to further problems.
This tells us that the use of dental implants is a fail-proof method of keeping the teeth aligned, preventing bone loss in the jaw, and generally ensuring ongoing oral and dental health.
Working with the Dental Professional
The best news about dental implants is that most people are viable candidates to receive them. The most important factor is to get them done as early as possible. While some people who have lost teeth many years ago are successfully getting implants today, it may have been too late to save the loss of bone in their jaw area. This is why it is of the utmost importance to inquire about this option long before it is necessary.
For example, when you are making a visit to your dentist for a regular checkup or for some additional work, ask about implants. Modern dental experts know that dental implants are a great option and are taking steps to get training and certification. If your dentist has already started to offer such treatment you should see this as a very good thing. If you should ever lose a tooth or suffer an injury that leads to an extraction, you can turn to your familiar and friendly dentist to get dental implants and keep your smile as healthy as possible.
Dr. Goldberg is a Toronto downtown dentist offering dental implants, emergency dental services and more.