The main part of a dental implant is the titanium screw that inserts into the jawbone like the root of a tooth. Once inserted into the jawbone, dental implants heal within several months. After healing has taken place, dental implants become the ideal replacement for natural teeth. But dental implants don't work alone. To replace teeth, the titanium screws work with a dental prosthesis.
Titanium dental implants can work with three types of dental prosthesis: dental crowns, dental bridges, and dentures. And in regards to durability and biocompatibility, no other metal comes close to titanium. This is because titanium is light but strong and more importantly, highly resistant to corrosion, which is important because dental implants are exposed to bodily fluids. If you wish to replace one or more missing teeth, then one of the following dental implant-supported prostheses may be right for you.
1. Dental Crowns (One or More Teeth)
On their own, dental crowns provide support for badly damaged teeth by replacing the upper portion of the tooth while using the lower portion as a base. But when used with dental implants, dental crowns use titanium implants as support, much like a natural tooth use roots in the jawbone.
With the combination of a dental implant and a dental crown, you can replace one or more teeth in your jawbone. This combination is highly durable due to the quality of materials used. For instance, dental crowns are usually composed of porcelain or a similar material. Porcelain is similar in composition to tooth enamel but much harder, which allows you to chew hard foods easily.
Oral hygiene with dental implants and crowns is much the same as with natural teeth. And if well-taken care of, dental implants can last a lifetime.
2. Dental Bridges (One or More Teeth)
The most common dental bridges use natural teeth as support for false teeth. Dentists call these supporting natural teeth abutment teeth. Unfortunately, to use a natural tooth as an abutment tooth, dentists need to shave sometimes perfectly good natural teeth down to make room for the dental crown.
If you don't like the idea of sacrificing the structure of a healthy tooth, you can opt to use a dental implant as an abutment tooth. This option is ideal if you are missing several teeth in a row in your upper or lower dental arch. For instance, if you have two missing teeth side by side, you can place one dental implant to support one false tooth.
3. Dentures (Multiple Teeth)
If you are missing multiple teeth throughout your mouth, a denture is a cost-effective way to replace those teeth. Unfortunately, dentures are awkward without support, especially because over time they become ill-fitting because of the bone loss that occurs with missing teeth. Dental implant-supported dentures are a much better fit than unsupported dentures.
Because the titanium screws of dental implants are biocompatible, they stimulate bone growth. As the titanium implants heal in your jawbone, new bone grows around them, providing stability and support. And once they are healed, the denture can be placed onto them and used. With this technique, you can replace an entire row of teeth.
So, if you currently use a denture, and you find that denture is uncomfortable, consider choosing a dental implant-supported denture instead. You'll never have to worry about your dentures slipping out of place again.
When you are missing multiple teeth, there is no better replacement than a dental implant-supported prosthesis. Seek out a prosthodontist or prosthetic dentist near you if you need to replace damaged or missing teeth. With the help of a dentist who is skilled in prosthetic dentistry, you can choose the dental implant-supported prosthesis that works best for you.