Blog Author: Dr. Aaron Dannegger, D.D.S.
The Benefits of Implants
As was discussed in the previous article, it is important to restore teeth that are missing so that you can maintain good chewing and speaking function as well as aesthetics. The previous article mentioned that three common ways to accomplish the replacement of a missing tooth or teeth are: Implants, Fixed Bridges, and Removable Partial Dentures. This article will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of implants and the benefits an implant can provide.
An implant can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth. There are many different types and styles of implant, but in general an implant actually consists of three different parts. The implant itself is made of titanium and usually looks like a screw. It is placed into the jawbone surgically and then allowed to heal for several months so that bone can grow into the “threads” and integrate into the jawbone. After an implant is healed an abutment is connected to the implant. The abutment is the second part of the implant that allows the final restoration or crown to be attached to the surgically placed implant. The final restoration or crown is the third part of the implant and is the last step in the process of making an implant. It can take several months for an implant to be completed.
Implants that are used to replace a single tooth are very stable and look and function as close to a natural tooth as possible. They will never get a cavity because they are made out of titanium (the implant) and porcelain (the crown) and therefore can last for many, many years. An advantage of replacing a tooth with an implant is that it doesn’t require any work to be done on any of the other teeth. They can be used to replace teeth in the front or back and when it is completed it will look and function very much like a natural tooth. You will brush and floss an implant like any natural tooth and it is important to maintain good oral hygiene with implants because they can be subjected to periodontal disease, just like natural teeth.
Not all patients are good candidates for implants. For implants to be successful, there must be adequate quality and quantity of bone for the implant to be integrated into the jaw. The health of a patient is also important for successful placement and healing of the implant. Therefore, conditions that delay or compromise healing such as diabetes, leukemia, or smoking may be contraindications for an implant.
Following is a summary of the Advantages and Disadvantages of implants:
Advantages of Implants:
- Most similar to a natural tooth in looks and function
- Can be used for single or multiple teeth in anterior or posterior
- Other teeth don’t have to be worked on
- Not subject to getting cavity
Disadvantages of Implants:
- May take several appointments and several months of healing until final restoration is completed
- Requires adequate bone and health in order to have successful placement
- Usually is the most costly of the other tooth replacement options