If you are missing one or more teeth or wear partial or full dentures, dental implants can be the perfect solution for a more secure, fuller smile. An implant is a titanium screw that is placed in your jaw, where it functions like a tooth root and stimulates the bone and tissue to keep them from disintegrating. This is necessary to keep your mouth healthy. By acting like the root of a tooth, the implant keeps the bone and tissue strong. Without it, those areas will tend to shrink away.
Once the screw is placed, an abutment is fastened to the implanted screw and an artificial tooth is attached to the abutment, which protrudes from the gum. Once the artificial tooth is placed on the abutment, it looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth. This is a great option for those who are concerned about the feeling of removable dentures, especially while eating or drinking. Because dental implants are designed to function like natural teeth, they allow patients to continue life as normal.
If a patient is finding that removable dentures are irritating or frustrating, dental implants can also be used to secure partial or full dentures. Instead of attaching an artificial tooth to the abutment, the dental plate or partial is fitted with an O-ring that snaps on to the abutment. This gives the dentures a semi-permanent, locked-into-place feeling.
For a partial denture, as few as one implant may be needed; for full dentures, it will take four or more implants to securely hold the prosthesis in place. Your dentist can determine how many you will need and what will work best with your mouth and your lifestyle. Implant-supported partials or dentures function just like normal teeth, allowing you to bite and chew just as you did with your permanent teeth; but the dentures can still be removed for cleaning.