You may be considering having a dental implant to replace a missing tooth. But what exactly is a dental implant and can anybody get one?
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a screw made of titanium that is implanted into the patient’s jaw replacing the root of the missing tooth. Being made of titanium, the implant is biocompatible and over time bone will grow around it helping to secure it in place. This provides a solid foundation for the new tooth and prevents bone loss. An artificial tooth or crown will be connected to the implant to fill the gap caused by the missing tooth. Implants are most commonly used for single teeth, but can also be used to anchor a dental bridge or removable dentures. Naturally blending in with your natural teeth, dental implants offer a durable and long-lasting solution to tooth loss and provide many more benefits than just repairing your smile.
Who are they suitable for?
Whilst they are suitable for a broad range of people, there are some reasons why they may not be suitable for some. As the implant is integrated into the jawbone, the bone needs to be dense, sturdy and healthy enough to support it. Therefore, it is not recommended for someone with a small jaw, who has gum disease or some medical conditions. Because smokers are often susceptible to gum disease, they usually are not good candidates for a successful implant unless they are prepared to give up smoking. For those with existing bone loss, it is possible to perform a bone graft to strengthen the jaws ability to support an implant.
Your dentist will be able to advise you whether or not you are a suitable candidate for a dental implant and will be able to provide information on the benefits, any potential risks and the procedures involved.