For decades, if you had individual missing teeth in places in your mouth, you had one solution -- dental bridges. Dentists would grind down the teeth on either side of the missing tooth and place a specially prepared bridge tooth there that rested on teeth on either side.
Obviously, dental bridges offer a solution that's far from ideal. Perfectly healthy teeth need to be ground down to anchor the bridged tooth. The new bridge tooth put in place has no supporting structure underneath in the form of roots, which means that it is a weaker structure than a real tooth.
Should the bridged tooth become defective over time, replacing it can mean cutting it off the supporting teeth on either side, further damaging those teeth. Replacing a bridge with a new one is a risky process. The teeth on either side are no longer in good shape to be of service.
The case for dental implants
A dental implant is the closest thing to natural teeth that modern dental science has. Unlike dental bridges that anchor themselves on adjacent teeth, dental implants get their own roots in the form of permanently fixed titanium foundations drilled right into the jawbone. With such strong foundation in place, doctors are free to place semi-permanent prosthetic teeth over them. The results are quite indistinguishable from natural teeth
Implants almost become a part of the natural body. The titanium substructure put in place bonds with the jawbone, becoming a strong natural-like structure. The prosthetic teeth on top have an excellent foundation to function on. These teeth remain strong, and so do adjacent teeth that do not need to be reduced or cut.
What kind of success rates do dental implant procedures have?
Unlike bridges, implants last a lifetime. Implants done by experienced dentists enjoy a 98% lifetime success rate. Traditionally, though, patients suffering from poor gum and bone health have had trouble with dental implants. These natural substructures are unable to support implants and aren't able to bond with them. In these cases, doctors need to work with bone grafts that help strengthen jawbone substructures. These are painful, complicated and time-consuming processes.
Modern developments in implant science, though, have excellent solutions.
Zygomatic implants and subperiosteal implants
Upper jaw dental implants: Called zygomatic implants, these devices are used on upper jaws that are too weak to support traditional implants. The method uses devices that are three times as long as traditional implants. They are placed so deep in the upper jaw, they enter the zygomatic bone or cheekbone. These implants need no jawbone reconstruction with grafts. The process is quick and extremely durable.
Subperiosteal implants: In the lower jawbone, there's nowhere for extra-long implants to go. This is where subperiosteal implant technology comes in -- it places a framework that fits snugly between the gum tissue and the jawbone. Since it doesn't drill into the bone, the quality or volume of the jawbone doesn't matter. It's a technology that's been in use for years, and comes with a high success rate.
Implants offer everything you could want in prosthetic dentistry
If you have missing teeth, implants are the best option modern dentistry places before you. The technology offers a near-perfect cosmetic effect, and full function.