A dental implant is an artificial tooth root replacement and is used in prosthetic dentistry to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth. There are several types of dental implants, however, the most widely accepted and successful implant today is the osseointegrated implant, based on the discovery by Swedish Professor Per-Ingvar Brånemark that titanium can be successfully fused into bone. This forms a structural and functional connection the living bone and the implant. A variation on the implant procedure is the implant-supported bridge, or implant-supported denture.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may notice a difference in chewing and speaking. There are options to help restore your smile. Bridges can help maintain the shape of your face, as well as alleviating the stress in your bite by replacing missing teeth.
Sometimes called a fixed partial denture, a bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. The restoration can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
Unlike a removable bridge, which you can take out and clean, a fixed bridge can only be removed by a dentist.
An implant bridge attaches artificial teeth directly to the jaw or under the gum tissue. Depending on which type of bridge your dentist recommends, its success depends on its foundation. So it’s very important to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong.
If you’ve lost all of your natural teeth, whether from periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury, complete dentures can replace your missing teeth and your smile. Replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health. Without support from the denture, facial muscles sag, making a person look older. You’ll be able to eat and speak—things that people often take for granted until their natural teeth are lost.
There are various types of complete dentures. A conventional full denture is made and placed in the patient’s mouth after the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed which may take several months. An immediate complete denture is inserted as soon as the remaining teeth are removed. The dentist takes measurements and makes models of the patient’s jaws during a preliminary visit. With immediate dentures, the denture wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period.
Even if you wear full dentures, you still must take good care of your mouth. Brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures to stimulate circulation in your tissues and help remove plaque.