If you need to replace one or more missing tooth, the dental implant has emerged as a modern alternative to the traditional denture and dental bridge.
A dental implant restoration basically involves inserting tiny titanium posts into the jawbone to act as artificial ‘tooth root’ structure – upon which a crown, denture or bridge may be attached. When the implant is allowed to biologically fuse with the tooth’s bone structure through a process known as Osseointegration, the result is unprecedented stability and support for the prosthetic teeth.
In this blog, we take a look at the different types and purposes of dental implants. Please bear in mind, however, that this is just a brief overview. You should consult your dentist regarding the right type of implant and procedure that is most suitable for your situation.
Most people tend to ignore a missing tooth that is not located in a prominent position. More than just an aesthetic concern, a missing tooth can lead to abnormal growth and eventual bone loss of neighbouring teeth.
A single dental implant restoration is designed to literally fill the gaping problem with an aesthetic solution. By mimicking the shape, size and colour of your original tooth, the single-implant replacement tooth effectively restores your natural smile by blending in seamlessly with the rest of your pearlies. Not only that, the embedded titanium post is known to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone resorption – a breakdown in bone tissue that leads to eventual bone loss.
For those who have several adjacent teeth missing, an implant-supported bridge provides a relatively affordable option. Unlike a conventional bridge that relies on your existing healthy teeth for anchorage, implant-supported bridges are lodged into your jawbone via specially designed connectors known as abutments. This way, you do not need to wear down healthy natural teeth to get strong, stable support for your prosthetic teeth.
Just like the single implant, the implant-supported bridge fits snugly into the precise location of the missing teeth. As close to natural teeth as it gets, this modern restoration lets you eat, speak and smile as you would with real teeth.
The common complaint against dentures is that they are so unpredictable, you never know when they will slip and slide in your mouth. To avoid the pain of sudden embarrassment, many have turned to the more secure and permanent implant-supported dentures.
Typically recommended for those with sufficient bone in their jaws to support the implants, this type of restoration can support a full or partial denture. It also works well on the lower jaw, as opposed to removable dentures that tend to be unstable there.
With implants, you have the assurance that your artificial teeth are permanently lodged in your jawbone. There is no need to remove for cleaning or any nightly soaking rituals. Of course, it also helps that your new set of permanent teeth feels and functions like you were born with them!
All-on-4 is a more recent implant solution that is recommended for edentulous and near-edentulous patients who have lost most, if not all of their teeth. Due to highly precise implant location and angle of insertion, this technique has reduced the number of implants required for anchoring a fully customised bridge to as little as 4 implants, hence the name.
It has also done away with the need for bone grafting surgery, a time-consuming and invasive step associated with traditional dental implant protocols.
As opposed to conventional implant surgery, it takes days, not months, for an All-on-4 dentist to restore the function and beauty of your smile. Nevertheless, you still get the strength and stability that you have come to expect from traditional implant techniques.