A dental implant is a metal screw that is anchored into the jawbone to act as a rigid support for an artificial tooth. It is one of the most sturdy and realistic ways to replace a missing tooth and is becoming one of the most popular.
If you have had a lost a tooth either due to head trauma or sporting injury, or simply from decay you will know that it is not a very pleasant experience. Not only can it be very painful initially, but it can also have serious repercussions for your future dental health. A missing tooth can be the underlying cause of a number of dental and muscular problems.
If a tooth is missing from the dental arc it leaves a hollow which can act as a breeding ground for bacteria. Because the hollow is difficult to clean, plaque forming bacteria builds up there and attacks other teeth and gums in the mouth. Missing teeth also encourage the remaining teeth to shift and lean into the gap. This can cause disruptions in bite which can lead to painful jaw conditions such as bruxism and TMJ. Missing teeth can also be responsible for sagging facial tissue, especially if more than one tooth is missing.
There are several options for patients wishing to replace a missing tooth. Partial dentures and dental bridges are two of the options but are often not sturdy enough to provide patients with the necessary degree of comfort and confidence. Dental implants are a more rigid alternative for replacing real teeth.
The dental implant itself is a metal screw, usually titanium or other non-harmful metal. It is drilled into the jawbone and allowed to settle for a few weeks. During this time the metal fuses with the bone and tissue in a process called osseointegration. When this is complete the dentist will attach a post and artificial crown to complete the procedure.
Due to the added level of security offered by a dental implant they are one of the most popular option for patients looking to replace a missing tooth. Gloucester dentists offer dental implants for patients with missing teeth and also mini-implants to act as a locking device for dentures.