Before development of dental implants, dentures or bridges were the only alternative to replacing a missing tooth or teeth.
Dental implants are titanium cylinders that can be placed into the jawbone in a minor and relatively painless surgical procedure. For instance, a patient who needs a tooth extracted for any reason today can often have what is called an “immediate implant” placed at the same time of the extraction. (However immediate placement is not always a good choice but may be used in selected cases). Implants are so well designed that they mimic the look and feel of natural teeth.
Not everyone is a candidate for a dental implant, however. For a successful implant, a candidate must have proper bone density and have a strong immune system. In all cases, dental implants require strict oral hygiene. More often, smokers are not good candidates and may require quitting.
The roots of your teeth are embedded in the upper and lower jawbone, holding your teeth firmly in the mouth. Teeth can be lost for a number of reasons, including periodontal disease, which may cause bone loss and loose teeth. Bone loss can cause loose dentures, which in turn can lead to sore spots, and the need for dental adhesives. Loss of significant bone can lead to facial structure collapse and even cause painful dentures when the denture rests on the nerve in the lower jaw. One of the major benefits of having dental implants is that it actually holds your bone level in place and reduces or eliminates the loss of bone.
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