A hand wearing a silver colored ring holds a pair of dentures and a surgical tool. Photo by Peter Kasprzyk on Unsplash.

Tooth loss or dental damage can happen for a variety of reasons, but regardless of the exact cause, there’s few better options for replacing and mimicking the function of natural teeth than with the placement of a dental implant.

In this article, we’ll discuss all you need to know about the basics of dental implants.

At Beautiful Smiles Dental Spa in Phoenix, we specialize in dental implants for both cosmetic dentistry and functional prostheses. For more information, get in touch with one of our local dentists.

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is an oral prosthesis used to replace damaged or missing teeth. The implant is surgically affixed to the jawbone and naturally fuses together over time in a process known as osseointegration. Implants are an ideal option for replacing the root of a tooth because it won’t affect surrounding bones and can remain stable for years or even decades.

In the past, dentures and fixed dental bridges have been relied upon for tooth replacement, but these were only temporary solutions to a permanent problem. Dental implants have revolutionized modern dentistry and given life-changing restoration to thousands of successful recipients. 

What is a Dental Implant Used For?

A dental implant may be recommended or desired for two primary reasons: to restore functionality to a damaged or missing tooth, or to create a more aesthetically pleasing arrangement of teeth in the mouth. Dental implants may also be used for procedures in orthodontics, serving as temporary anchorage devices and assisting in the controlled relocation and alignment of teeth. In these cases, however, the implants are normally temporary and will be removed once the procedure is completed.

Many recipients of dental implants have lost some or all of their teeth as a result of periodontal disease or decay. 

What kinds of dental implants exist?

Historically, there have been two varieties of dental implants: endosteal and subperiosteal. The latter form of implants are no longer in use today due to their poor performance and long-term results; almost all implants are of the endosteal variety.

Endosteal dental implants are those which are embedded into the bone of the jaw and which fuse with natural bone over time through the osseointegration process.

If a patient has lost a significant number of teeth due to disease or injury, they are likely to receive a 4-part implant procedure (most widely known to have been developed by Nobel Biocare). The placement of 4 implants can be used to replace both the upper and lower arches of the teeth. Once secured by way of a thin prosthesis, the implants are not movable and feel remarkably similar to natural teeth.

Are there risks associated with dental implants?

As with any medical procedure, there are inherent risks and precautions that should be made apparent to individuals considering the use of dental implants. Namely, the patient must be deemed healthy enough by his or her dentist to receive the oral surgery and successfully get through the healing process. If a patient has a history of allergies, infections, blood disorders, or is currently taking specific medications, they may need to make adjustments prior to surgery. 

Although the majority of dental implants are executed successfully, there are potential complications that may occur during the post-surgical stage. These include infections, structural damage to other areas of the mouth, poor bone health and durability, or improper placement of the prosthesis. It should be noted that these complications are very rare and risks of damage or pain from dental implants are unlikely.

Conclusion

Dental implants are a versatile and highly desirable prosthetic that have helped thousands and continue to do so on a daily basis. If you think you would benefit from a dental implant, whether for functional or aesthetic reasons, please get in touch with Beautiful Smiles Dental Spa today!