We have come a long way in replacing missing teeth. Our first president wore wooden teeth. Today, the quality and longevity of dental implants is fantastic and the cost has come down considerably.
In the 21st century, dental implants are very predictable, stable, and beautiful. Many people you encounter on a daily basis have dental implants, which you will know about only if they tell you.
In the past, if a tooth or teeth were lost, options consisted of removable appliances (partial or complete dentures) or bridges to span the space of a missing tooth or teeth. Today, we can predictably replace a single tooth, or an entire arch of missing teeth, with dental implants. Most commonly, these consist of an anchor (usually titanium) which is surgically placed (often screwed) in the jawbone and then left for from 3-6 months to osseointegrate (grow) into the bone. After an appropriate healing time (usually 3-6 months), the implant (endosteal implant) is uncovered and an abutment or post which projects through the gum is added to support the crown or artificial tooth.
Patients make considerable investments of both time and money on dental implants, but the results are awesome. Many people can’t or won’t have removable dental appliances (partials or full dentures) and, for them, dental implants are a godsend.
Brushing and flossing, as with natural teeth, are essential to the success of dental implants. With proper care, modern dental implants can last a lifetime.
Talk to your dentist, if you have any missing teeth, regarding the feasibility of using implants to replace spaces or existing bridges.
James G. Hood