For those who have lost a tooth, one of the best ways to replace them is by getting dental implants. But what are dental implants? These are metal screw-shaped devices surgically placed "under the gums into the jawbone. These will then serve as the base there the dentist will mount the replacement teeth.

How Dental Implants Work

Over the years, the way dental implants work has changed over the years. But in all these years, its function remains the same: to act like and replace natural teeth. This means you can eat and clean with them the same way as you would natural teeth.

The three main parts of a dental implant include the root (which is usually made of zirconia or titanium), the abutment and the crown. The root is screwed into the jawbone, acting as the whole implant’s anchor. The metal abutment is screwed into the root where the crown (or the replacement tooth) is then attached.

Getting a Dental Implant

1. The dentist will apply anesthesia which will likely cause you to fall asleep.
2. The dentist surgically inserts the root into the jawbone, and then place the abutment on the root.
3. Following the root insertion, you will most likely be lethargic and feel some soreness in the mouth. Also expect to have gauze in your mouth.
4. You will be given enough time to recuperate. At this time, the implant will start to integrate with your jawbone (a process called osseointegration) where the bone will grow around the implant and make it sturdy.
5. During this recuperation period, you will be recommended a diet of soft, healthy foods. The dentist will apply a temporary flipper tooth so you can still eat normally.
6. When osseointegration is complete after a few months, the dentist attaches the crown to the abutment.

Who Can Get Dental Implants

Anyone with good oral and overall health, and enough bone support is a good candidate to get a dental implant. There are cases where a bone grafting procedure might be needed to get enough bone support. Those with an autoimmune disease or chronic illness might not find this as their best option to replace lost teeth.

It is important that you first consult your primary health care physician and your dentist before you get a dental implant. Should your doctor and dentist agree that you require an implant and are in good enough health, it would require you follow a meticulous oral hygiene routine before, during and after the procedure.

Types of Dental Implants

The two main kinds of dental implants are endosteal and subperiosteal. The former is inserted into the bone to fuse with it, while the latter just sits on top of the jawbone, which is rarely used now because of its poor long-term performance. Either case, a recovery period of several months is required.

• Single-tooth implants. These replace the roots of a missing tooth and does not treat the surrounding teeth. Aside from helping with aesthetics, single-tooth implants also retain the speech sound, prevent the other natural teeth from shifting and prevent bone loss.
• Implant-supported dentures and bridges. Used whenever multiple teeth are missing, these implants also help support a denture bridge. Instead of getting support from nearby teeth, these also uses implants for support. To apply this, the dentist inserts at least four implants to act as the denture’s anchors.

Because dental implants are screwed into the jaw bone, they should more secure and comfortable in the long term compared to conventional dentures. They feel like natural teeth and will not shift around. Indeed, dental implants offer you a great way to get your beautiful smile back.

Author's Bio: 

James Franklin is a full time author and part-time blogger who like to put his review on various topics.