Dental implants are the closest you can get to healthy, natural teeth. They allow you to live the way you want to – confidently eating, smiling, laughing, talking, kissing and enjoying all of your everyday activities without worrying about your teeth. Basically a dental implant is used to support one or more false teeth. It is a titanium screw that can replace the root of a tooth when it fails. Just like a tooth root, it is placed into the jawbone.
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There are three main parts to a dental implant:
#1. The Fixture
The fixture is the bottom of the implant and is the part that is physically embedded below the gum line, fusing with the jawbone to become a permanent part of your smile. The fixture is made of titanium and has a cylindrical, screw-shaped design. The fixture is often coated with a material known as hydroxyapatite, which can assist with the osseointegration (fusion) process.
#2. The Abutment
The abutment is the small portion that lies right around the gum line. Once the osseointegration (fusion) process has been completed, the abutment is screwed into the fixture and will eventually hold the dental work that becomes part of your smile.
#3. The Prosthesis
The prosthesis is the dental work that is done on top of the abutment, such as a crown, bridge, or denture. This piece is cemented or screwed into the abutment if the prosthesis is a crown or bridge, or snapped onto the abutment if the prosthesis is a denture.
Dental implants are designed and constructed to be extremely strong and able to last decades, becoming a permanent fix for missing or chipped teeth and giving you back the smile you want.
Advantages of Dental Implants
- Improved appearance: Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
- Improved speech: With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
- Improved comfort: Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
- Easier eating: Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
- Improved self-esteem: Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.
- Improved oral health: Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
- Durability: Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
Convenience: Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.