Every tooth has two parts – the crown and the root. The crown is the visible part of the tooth while the root remains unseen while anchoring the tooth in your jawbone. The root does more than provide support for the crown. If the root is missing, this may lead to shrinkage of the jawbone. Dental implants can prevent this shrinkage from happening.
Dental implants are an option to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium post is surgically implanted into the bone and allowed to set for 3-6 months. The bone grows around it forming a tight connection, which additionally slows or stops the bone loss that occurs when the root of a natural tooth is missing. Once the implant is firmly set in the mouth, the dentist then works to attach the replacement tooth onto the top of the post. This permanent solution has the advantages over bridge work because it does not stress the surrounding teeth for support.
Implants can also be used as support as part of an implant bridge. This is an alternative to partial dentures, and has advantages. First, there is no adjustment period to acclimatize the patient who, once the work is done only feels the teeth, not metal supports intruding into the mouth. Second, this slows the bone loss occasioned by missing teeth. Lastly, they don’t have be taken out all of the time!