Dental implants are the most successful and cost effective treatment for missing teeth, a fact proven by hundreds of scientific studies. Their success rate, about 98% for most situations, is far superior to other treatments. Their longevity has been proven for over 45 years, and they can be expected to last about as long as natural teeth
Dental implants are the most successful and cost effective treatment for missing teeth, a fact proven by hundreds of scientific studies. Their success rate, about 98% for most situations, is far superior to other treatments. Their longevity has been proven for over 45 years, and they can be expected to last about as long as natural teeth.
Actual patient treated with two dental implants
The best way to describe a dental implant is to compare it to a real tooth. The part of a natural tooth you can see is called the crown. Hidden beneath the gums is the root, which anchors the tooth to the jawbone.
A typical dental implant tooth is composed of three separate parts:
The actual implant is a titanium post that is surgically implanted into the jaw. After healing, the implant will completely fuse with the jawbone to function as a new root.
The abutment attaches to the implant, and serves as a connector between the implant and the crown.
The crown, which is custom fabricated by your restorative dentist, is fitted onto the abutment to recreate the natural shape and appearance of your tooth.
Depending on how many implants are placed, a single tooth, a segment of several implant-supported teeth, or even an entire set of new teeth can be made.
If you lose one or more teeth, there are several unfortunate changes that begin immediately.
Atrophy of the Jaw Bone
When your tooth is gone, the jawbone is no longer stimulated by chewing forces, and the jawbone in the area begins to melt away – a process called atrophy. This progressive bone loss weakens the jawbone, and may complicate eventual implant placement.
Missing teeth also allow neighboring and opposing teeth to drift or tip into the empty space. This creates orthodontic, gum, or cosmetic problems that may need to be corrected.
Accelerated Wearing Down of the Front Teeth
When back teeth are lost, the chewing force that was borne by the sturdy molar teeth is transferred to the more delicate front teeth. They become overloaded and wear down quickly, becoming shorter and shorter until they are lost altogether. The shape of the face also becomes more short and square because the jaws have developed an over-closed posture. This is why it is always best to have missing teeth replaced, even if they are unseen teeth in the back of the mouth.
Problems with the Jaw Joint
When back teeth are lost, the missing support also places a heavy burden on the jaw muscles and joint structures. Over time, this can lead to clicking, popping, or grinding noises and can lead to jaw joint pain, locking, or degeneration (arthritis) of the joint.
Although dental implants are a superior tooth replacement treatment, there are a few other options: a removable partial or full denture or a fixed bridge.
A removable partial denture fills in the missing teeth by resting on the gums while being held in place with metal prongs that clip onto the neighboring teeth. Full dentures replace all the teeth in one arch. Partials and dentures do not replace missing root structures or prevent further jawbone atrophy or tooth loss. They can be bulky and distort speech, and cosmetic results are disappointing if the metal prongs are visible. The fit of dentures tends to worsen as time goes by.
Removable partial and full dentures.
A fixed bridge is made by shaving down and placing crowns on two teeth and suspending one or two false teeth in between. A bridge will last an average of 7-15 years before failing, often due to decay under one of the crowns. When a bridge eventually does fail, it usually means more teeth need to be extracted.
"Dr. Stout gave me a perfect smile! No one can tell which of my teeth are implanted and which ones are natural."
- Angela M.,
"I was miserable with dentures. Dental implants didn't just fix my teeth; they made my life normal again."
- Solomon R.,