Your natural teeth and dental implants differ in more than ways than one. The look, feel, and function are all similar, but how they attach to surrounding bone, and react to dental diseases are widely poles apart. How each is repaired and maintained differ as well.
Without dental implants, your gum tissues have collagen fibers that enable them to attach to the roots of your teeth. The same collagen fibers form a periodontal ligament, which attaches your teeth into your jaw bone. With dental implants, gum tissues attach to the surface of the implants only. At the same time, the implants are fused directly to your bone.
Your natural teeth are prone to decay and gum disease (also periodontal disease). They may need root canal therapy to treat dental decay. Dental implants are made of metal, so they do not decay and thus, do not require a root canal. However, they are prone to peri-implantitis. The inflammation of the tissues around the implant caused by bacterial biofilm in the tissues. It can lead to the degeneration of the bones in which an implant is inserted.
If you need implants, but you want to know your options, here is what you can choose from:
Single Tooth Replacement
A single implant is inserted to replace your missing tooth. An abutment is affixed to the implant after the healing period, or osseointegration, is complete. The abutment works as a link, or connection, between the implant, and the newly formed tooth, or artificial crown. It replaces the part of your tooth that is seen above your gum-line.
An artificial crown is custom-made in a dental laboratory. It is made to match the size and color of your existing teeth, so it will become almost impossible to tell it apart from your natural teeth. It is screwed or cemented on the abutment, so it will be permanently in place.
Fixed Multiple Tooth Replacement
Multiple implants also work the same way as single implants. However, they are not inserted separately, but as a bridge. For example, with three adjacent teeth, only the first and third teeth have implants. The crown to be affixed on top is set as a bridge that is made in a dental laboratory. Again, they are made to match the size and color of your natural teeth.
Removable Implant-Supported Tooth Replacement
This option is perfect for people who have lost all their teeth on the upper or lower part of their oral cavity. A denture is used instead of individually attaching implants and crowns. On the lower teeth, two to six implants are inserted to support dentures. On the upper teeth, four to six implants are needed.
Proper Care and Maintenance
Implants are easy to clean. Crowns and dentures are replaceable and removable, though only by a dentist, so your implants can be cleaned, or examined for damage. What is more, the dentures and crowns can also be replaced in case of wear and tear, without disturbing the implants.
Having implants in your oral cavity is a great way of replacing missing teeth. They are durable, and easy to clean. Ask your oral surgeon for more information.