If you have missing teeth or you need to replace a few or all of your teeth, dental implants are the next best thing to natural teeth. Not only do they mimic the look and function of natural teeth, but they are also osteophilic, meaning that the titanium implants that are made of are compatible with the bone that usually surrounds your tooth roots. These implants fuse with the bone conferring stability and preventing bone resorption, a problem that appears as a result of tooth loss given that bone is no longer stimulated to maintain its density and form.
Apart from stability and bone preservation, dental implants also have the advantage of being more comfortable and more aesthetical than conventional dentures. A further advantage is that there are many options with dental implants in the sense that these titanium implants give people a lot of leeway in solving their missing teeth problems. Any number of teeth can be replaced with dental implants.
Which are the most common dental implant options that can help you gain back the functionality and appearance of your lost teeth?
All-on-4 dental implants
This option is used for replacing missing teeth on the upper or lower jaw, and its main advantage is its ability to support a maximum number of teeth with only 4 dental implants. This not only reduces costs, but it also reduces surgical times and, of course, healing times as a consequence. In some cases, a single surgical procedure is enough for patients to walk away with a full set of teeth.
Immediate load or same-day implants
Often also marketed as “teeth in a day”, immediate load dental implants refer to the procedure when temporary teeth are placed immediately after or very close to the time of the implant procedure, therefore responding to the aesthetic needs of patients.
Once the healing period necessary for osseointegration has passed, the provisional same-day implants are replaced with permanent ones, thus, restoring full functionality of the lost or replaced tooth or teeth.
If implants are locked together with a rigid connector to be held firmly in the jawbone during the healing period, then we’re talking about a functional loading for which all-on-4 dental implants are a representative example.
Another option with dental implants are implant-supported dentures. When a patient is missing all his teeth, but his bone density is good enough to support the placement of implants, implant-supported dentures are an excellent alternative to conventional dentures, which sit directly on the gums and don’t provide neither the same chewing function nor the same aesthetic function as implant-retained dentures do.
As opposed to fixed implant-retained dentures, removable implant-supported dentures have the advantage of being easy to clean, thus, reducing the risk of inflammation or other gum-related problems that may be caused by improper cleaning. These removable dentures snap onto implant attachments that firmly hold the new teeth thereby stimulating the jaw and preventing bone loss.
Single tooth implant
A single tooth implant is also your best option for replacing one or more teeth. Given that it’s not a high-scale surgery that would require the placement of several implants, you can take advantage of this type of implant because it solves the problem of your missing tooth or teeth by preserving the integrity of your adjacent teeth, which, with a bridge system, would otherwise have to be ground or cut down.
Dental implantology in summary
Dental implants are a highly scalable solution that most closely mimic the feel, function, and look of natural teeth, but come with the advantage of not being prone to the same problems as natural teeth are, therefore, long outlasting natural teeth.