What is Implant Dentistry?

N. Madison

Implant dentistry is a term that describes procedures used to restore a person’s smile using implanted alternatives to natural teeth. Implant dentistry comes into play when a person loses one or more of his permanent teeth or has them extracted. To fill in the gaps, a person may have natural-looking, fully functioning teeth implanted in his mouth.

An illustration of a dental implant.
An illustration of a dental implant.

Though many people lose a tooth or two at some point or another, having company in tooth loss is no comfort. Many people feel self-conscious and constantly worried that people are noticing the gaps in their mouths rather than their personalities and other attributes. They may avoid smiling because they don’t want their missing teeth to show, and some people may even have trouble chewing. For these people, there may be many advantages to implant dentistry.

Dental implants can brighten and perfect a person's smile.
Dental implants can brighten and perfect a person's smile.

One of the major benefits of implant dentistry is that the implants tend to fit well within a person’s mouth and blend in with his other teeth. They also feel normal, so a person may actually be able to forget that they are there instead of constantly noticing removable dentures and bridges. Typically, dental implants are undetectable, so a person can smile widely without feeling self-conscious. Since the implants are firmly planted in a person’s jaw bone, the adjacent teeth have support and do not shift, and the surrounding bone is less likely to deteriorate, which is a concern when a person has missing teeth. Additionally, they allow for comfortable and normal speaking and eating.

Implant dentistry does require surgery. To fix implants in place, dentists place small fixtures made of titanium in a person’s upper or lower jaw. The jaw bone forms a bond with the titanium fixtures, and the bond provides a strong environment for attaching artificial teeth and bridges. A dentist can use implant dentistry to replace a single tooth in a person’s mouth or several teeth. Dental implants can even be used to replace a whole mouth full of teeth, though this is a very expensive option; even replacing just one tooth can be costly.

It’s a misconception that implant dentistry means an end to caring for the teeth. The truth is good dental hygiene is just as important after implant dentistry as it is before. People with dental implants have to care for dental implants in the same way they take care of their natural teeth. This mean brushing and flossing on a regular basis.

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