Despite advances in dental care and a greater awareness of dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease, millions of people lose teeth each year due to decay or head trauma. In the past, patients wishing to replace a missing tooth had a choice between a partial denture or a dental bridge. These were, at best, only satisfactory substitutes for real teeth and always involved a significant adjustment of lifestyle for the patient. Certain foods became off limits because of the dangers of breaking parts of the prosthetic and patients were frequently worried about the embarrassment of dentures falling out at inopportune moments. All of that changed with the introduction of the dental implant.
A dental implant is a relatively new solution to missing teeth that involves drilling a small screw into the jawbone itself to act as an anchor for an artificial tooth. Because the implant is attached to the jawbone, it creates a similar feeling of stability to a real tooth, which is secured by a root.
The implant is usually made from titanium or other lightweight but strong metal. Once placed into the jaw at the initial appointment it is left for several weeks or months to fuse with the bone and tissue in a process called osseointegration. When the implant has fully fused, the dentist will replace the temporary crown with a permanent one and it will look and feel exactly like a real tooth. Solid, comfortable and able to endure any food that you care to eat, a dental implant really is the closet thing to a real tooth and can put an end to any anxieties experienced with other dental substitutes.