Dental implants can restore the appearance of your smile, as well as provide functional support for your mouth. While the process of getting a dental implant sounds intimidating, many people find it more than worth it. The key to a dental implant lies within the relationship of our bodies and titanium. This metal can actually fuse with the bone in your mouth. From there, a cap or an anchor fits to give you confidence in your smile once again.
The most important part of your dental implant is its foundation. You can get either a tapered cylinder or exact cylindrical titanium screw surgically placed in the position of your missing tooth. Because this occurs in your jaw bone, it is considered the most invasive part of the process. Healing from this surgery can take a few weeks, with full healing typically done by six months.
Once the titanium screw is in place, the process of osseointegration can begin. Osseointegration is the process of your bone growing into and fusing with the titanium. Once this process is complete, your titanium implant is more secure in your jawbone than your original tooth ever was.
Natural Looking Cap
If you’re only missing one tooth, your dentist will most likely top your dental implant with a cap. They simply glue a tooth-shaped, tooth-colored covering to your titanium implant. You can choose from several different materials to fashion your cap, but a polymer cap is a popular choice. As a result, the cap neatly covers up the hole in your smile. It also provides the tooth opposite your missing tooth with something to bite on. Due to the design of your jaw, the act of chewing actually aids in jaw health. If a tooth “chews” without meeting resistance it often leads to a decline in tooth and jaw health. A dental implant stops that right away.
While your titanium screw implant is projected to last the rest of your life, your cap may not. Caps have a lifespan of 5-15 years on average. With proper care, yours may last a long time! Just be aware that they’re not as durable as the metal screw, and take care when flossing and brushing them.
Anchor for a Bridge or Dentures
One of the most useful ways to use your dental implant is to anchor something else. If you’re missing multiple teeth, or even use full dentures, dental implants can change the way you use your oral devices. Dentures are useful, but many people find that they have poor grip even when properly inserted. As an alternative, you can place a few dental implants into your mouth; then, instead of putting a cap on them, they’re fitted with pieces that will slide into slots on the bottom of your oral device. In turn, it gives you a better fit with more stability than you get with sticky pastes.
Dental implants work by providing a solid foundation for adding different replacement parts to your mouth. You can use them to anchor dentures or a partial bridge. You can also put a cap on a dental implant to fill in just one gap in your smile. Either way, dental implants can change your appearance.