A dental implant is a common and effective prosthetic that replaces a missing tooth. Genetics, poor dental habits, and mouth injuries are just some of the reasons that a dentist may need to remove a tooth. Teeth can become cracked, chipped, or decayed from these issues. If a tooth needs to be removed, some patients may think it’s ok to just leave the gums as-is.
However, a missing tooth needs to be replaced in order to have a healthy mouth and confident smile. If nothing is done, the surrounding teeth can start to shift out of place. Furthermore, the patient can develop problems with chewing and speaking. If the patient goes too long without replacing the tooth, the jawbone around the area can start to break down.
If you are considering getting a dental implant, be sure to know the many types of implants and how they work.
Types of Dental Implants
Dental implants are customized to each person’s mouth. As such, there are many types of dental implants available including the following.
- Single-tooth implant: This is the type of implant most people think of when discussing the procedure. A screw is fully attached to the jaw and a crown replaces the lost tooth.
- Mini-Dental Implant (MDI): These implants have smaller screws, which allows them to be placed when the patient has less jawbone to work with.
- Implant-supported bridge: These prosthetics replace several teeth on the same arch. The bridge gets support from at least two implants, but not every single tooth in the bridge.
- Implant-supported dentures: Like bridges, the dentures include some replacement teeth that are implants and others that are not. A full arch can get support from just four implants.
Dental implants can also use different materials. The screw is either made of titanium or zirconia. We use titanium because it is biocompatible and durable. The crown of the implant, which is the part that shows when you smile, can have one of several materials. It could be metal, including gold. However, most people opt for porcelain fused with metal. These implants are durable and tooth-colored.
How Dental Implants Work
Dental implants have three parts: the screw, the abutment, and the crown. The screw is drilled into the jaw, giving it support and structure. The abutment is the connective piece that attaches the screw to the crown, which is the tooth-shaped piece that shows when you smile.
The process starts with a consultation. The patient meets with the dentist, who will also take a 3D scan of the tooth or area in question. Then, the dentist begins making plans for placement and the implant is made as well. The next procedure is relatively quick. The dentist places the screw, abutment, and a temporary crown. Once the jaw has had at least four weeks to heal, the patient returns for the permanent crown.
Dental Implants in Maine
At Maine Dentistry, we are proud to provide strong, durable dental implants that restore a healthy smile. Dr. Ben Lawlor, DDS, FAGD, FICOI is highly experienced in placing implants and is even a fellow at the College of Oral Implantologists. We use high-quality materials and the latest technology to help you get the feel, function, and look of a naturally healthy smile.
Ready for your dental implant? Contact one of our conveniently located offices to get started.