The dental implant refers to the artificial tooth interfaced with the jaw bone or skull. It serves as the anchor to support the replacement tooth, which is typically referred to as a crown. The crown is the most recommended option because they last almost a lifetime, and their function is similar to the natural tooth.
One thing that separates dental implants from bridges and dentures is that they prevent bone loss. Each surgical element is permanent, and it helps maintain the chewing function of the mouth. It also exerts the right pressure to keep your jaw healthy.
According to data, the dental implant industry was worth $4.38 billion in 2018. However, the market size is expected to double by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 7.9%.
The American College of Prosthodontists revealed that around 36 million people in the United States do not have a single tooth. Meanwhile, 120 million Americans have lost at least one tooth. Of the total number of people without teeth, about 15% have dentures.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Opting for dental implants instead of bridges and dentures yield several benefits:
- They look more natural compared to dentures.
- They help boost self-esteem as the patient is now more confident with their smile.
- They help improve communication. Poorly fitted dentures affect pronunciation and speech.
- You are less worried when biting into food. With dentures, you are always wary about choosing sticky or hard food as they might break your false teeth.
- They are very durable. The dental implants will last for 25 years with proper maintenance.
Types of Dental Implant Procedures
When talking about the types of dental implants, specialists often refer to three things:
- Zygomatic. This procedure is rarely used because it is very complicated. The dentist will recommend it when the patient does not have enough jawbone for the standard surgical procedure. The anchor will be implanted on the cheekbone rather than on the jawbone.
- Subperiosteal. The implant is not implanted deep into the jawbone. Instead, it rests on the surface of the bone under the gum. The tooth is supported by a metal frame inserted under the gum. When the gum heals, it will cover the structure until it is fully supported. Poles from the gums will hold the false tooth in place. Again, this is used when the patient does not have enough jawbone to protect traditional dental implants. Some patients also choose this because it is less invasive.
- Endosteal. This procedure is the most common type of all and also the safest. However, one requirement is for the patient to have a healthy jawbone. They screw implants into the jaw, which serves as the anchor to support the crown. The placeholder post is put in place until the bone and gums heal. It takes about three months for the organic and materials to fuse. However, it is not uncommon for the healing process to take six months.
But do not worry. Your dentist will not allow the metal post to stick through the gap in your teeth. It will be guarded with a temporary crown until it is fully healed. Leaving it open is quite risky because of the food debris and infection. However, the temporary crown is smaller compared to the adjacent teeth so that it will be protected.