The Average Joe's Guide To Dental Implants

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What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are titanium posts that are surgically-installed into your jaw below the gum line. They are not too dissimilar to the natural roots of a tooth, and function in a virtually identical manner.

How do Dental Implants work?

Dental implants are surgically fused with the natural bone in your jaw, and serve as a safe and sturdy foundation for a wide variety of artificial teeth, including individual-tooth implants, multi-tooth bridges and even over-dentures. The result is the next best thing to real teeth, and even then, the difference is hardly noticeable. Any dentures and bridges mounted is this manner won't slip or shift around, even when you're eating. The good news is that dental implants do not require grinding down adjacent teeth, as would a crown. The only affected teeth are the ones that will be added to restore your brilliant smile. However, the biggest drawbacks are that they require healthy gums, and they are expensive. Currently, dental implants are the most expensive of modern methods of tooth replacement.

Types of Dental Implants:

There are a wide variety of dental implant types and methods currently in use. Single-tooth implants are the most common and most natural. As the name suggests, they support a single crown, and best simulate a single, natural tooth.

However, when multiple teeth need to be replaced, sometimes bridges are a more viable option. These work by putting an implant at either end of the gap, and placing a single crown that spans the length. These are shaped to give a seamless illusion of multiple, individual teeth.

However, this concept can be extended to also anchor an entire set of dentures on either the upper or lower part of the law, with only a minimal amount of implants needed to fix them into place. These can be either removable, or permanently mounted.

There are also some miscellaneous uses of dental implants as well, but they are fairly specialized and obscure. Among them are specialized anchor points for use with orthodontic braces, which can be used to more easily enable quicker and easier tooth movement in otherwise problematic areas. Another niche use is for temporary bridgework. These use smaller implants known as "micro-implants" that are temporary in nature. They ensure that the patient will never be without teeth, and allow them to avoid the awkwardness of appearing socially with missing teeth. They are removed once the permanent implant has completely healed and fused with the jawbones, and is ready to be mounted with the permanent crown.

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