Teeth can be lost for many reasons, including decay, injury, age or structural defects, but whatever the reason, when a front tooth is lost, your smile just isn't the same. In the past, the only option for replacing a missing tooth was a bridge or dentures, both of which were often uncomfortable and not very durable, not to mention cosmetically displeasing. Dental implants are one of the newer methods of replacing lost teeth. The procedure can be completed in a single day under local anesthetic, sending you home with a new smile. In fact, dental implants are so close in appearance to real teeth that even the front teeth can be implants and no one will be the wiser.
An implant serves as a sturdy and long-lasting replacement for a missing tooth.
The dental implant consists of two parts: the titanium screw and the crown (the manufactured tooth). During the first treatment, the screw is inserted and a temporary crown is glued into place. After about three months, the permanent crown is attached to the screw.
The dentist must evalute you to see whether you are a good candidate for a dental implant. The dental professional considers the health and quantity of the bone in the implant location because the titanium screw must implant (known as osseointegration) permanently before the final crown can be attached. Also, be sure to plan for the cost of the implant, which can be quite a bit higher than a crown or dentures.
Dental implants provide a better cosmetic appearance, even for front teeth, and are typically far more comfortable and durable than dentures and crowns. Small teeth and incisors can be replaced with a "mini-implant."
Dental implants, on rare occasions, can fail due to breakage, infection or failure to fully implant (osseointegrate) into the bone. No special training is required for the dentist who performs implants, so be sure to ask for referrals from friends, family or former patients when selecting the person to insert your dental implant.