What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a secure, metal artificial tooth root that is surgically placed into your jaw. Its purpose is to hold a prosthetic (replacement) tooth in place. Unlike traditional bridges, an implant doesn’t need another tooth as a way to attach a final bridge. It is attached much like a natural tooth is—in the jaw.

“Implants are a good choice for healthy people who want the natural feel and the same strength as the replaced tooth,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix Cosmetic Dentist office.  “They are practical and permanent, “ she adds.

dental_healthImplants are also an excellent choice for people who need more than one tooth replaced and who can’t wear (or don’t want to wear) dentures. One of the  problems with dentures is that the upper one has a portion that covers the palate—the roof of the mouth. This section of the denture can interfere with the ability to taste and enjoy food, because the taste buds that are located on the roof of your mouth are covered.

In some cases, people with sensitive gag reflexes will have trouble adjusting to dentures.  And, of course, dentures can slip and loosen during eating or speaking. None of those problems occur with implant supported dentures.

Once the implant is placed in your jaw, the bone grows around the titanium post, securing it. “This may take several months, depending on your ability to heal,” says Dr. Ford. The Mayo Clinic points to the healing process as a “major benefit of implants [because a] solid support for your new teeth [is] a process that requires the bone to heal tightly around the implant.”

If you have one or more missing teeth, and your jawbone has reached full growth with enough bone to secure the implant, you may well benefit from an implant and even an implant that supports a denture.

“Implants can help restore the joy of eating and speaking normally again,” says Dr. Ford, “with the added benefit of a bright white smile.”

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