Q: What are dental implants?
A: A dental implant is an artificial root inserted into the jaw bone that holds a replacement tooth or bridge in place.
Q: Are dental implants better than other replacement options?
A: In short, yes. An implant looks and feels like a natural tooth. Esthetically they'll give you the confidence to smile and eat what you want without anyone knowing you had a tooth replaced. At the same time, implants do not sacrifice the health of neighboring teeth. This is a significant long term benefit to your long term health.
Q: What's wrong with getting a bridge?
A: In order to get a bridge, adjacent teeth must be ground down to support the cement bridge. Here are some other disadvantages to a bridge: harder to keep clean, gums can recede around the bridge leaving a visible defect, deteriorating bone beneath the bridge can lead to an unattractive smile, and cement holding the bridge can washout, allowing bacteria to decay the teeth anchoring the bridge.
Q: Let's say I need treatment, what does that involve?
A: After an review of your medical and dental history, your gums and teeth will be examined. Radiographs may also need to be taken to evaluate bone supporting the teeth. Most treatment involves removing plaque and calculus (hardened deposits) and smoothing the root surfaces. More advanced cases may require surgery.
Q: Am I a good candidate for implants?
A: Ideal candidates for implants are in good general and oral health. This includes having adequate jawbone for the implant and healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease. Ultimately, you will want to consult a surgeon who is an expert specializing in this area.