If you are missing a tooth or several teeth, it is advisable to fill the hole that has been created to maintain the structural integrity of your jawbone and keep the surrounding teeth in their proper positions. Dental options for filling these spaces include bridges, dentures or dental implants and crowns. The type of placeholder used may depend on the structure of your mouth, and the integrity of your remaining teeth. You must have enough bone density in which to embed the implant. Diabetics or smokers might not be good candidates for this procedure because of their higher risk of infection. Find a family dentist or cosmetic dentist who can advise you on which options are best for your health and mouth.
A dental implant is a metal post that serves as an artificial tooth root. It is surgically anchored into your jaw and usually holds a crown or bridge securely in place. Sometimes an implant is used to keep full or partial dentures more stable. If you have not lost too much bone due to disease or infection, a dental implant can be placed in the bone under your gums. The bone then grows back around this implant, mimicking the function of a tooth root. A crown can then be attached to this metal post. Mini Implants are small diameter titanium implants that are placed into the upper or lower arch of your jaw. This process does not require exposing your bone and allows the crown to be immediately placed, without requiring any healing time.
If you have dental implants you need to pay close attention to flossing and brushing to keep infection from penetrating into the gum and bones. With proper care, most dental implants can last many years. Benefits of dental implants include improved appearance, speech and comfort over often loose-fitting dentures. Since they are usually anchored in bone, they remain firmly in place so you don't have to worry about chewing hard food. They can be preferable to a bridge because they stand alone and do not require any alterations to surrounding teeth.
ChooseYourDentist.com is your go-to source for dental information and dental education. If you are interested in dental implants and mini-implants, use our dental profiles to help find a cosmetic dentist or general dentist who can help because ChooseYourDentist.com is "where patients and dentists meet."