Today’s implant looks like a threaded screw that’s the size of a tooth’s natural root. Made of titanium, the implant fuses with living bone and mimics the roots of natural teeth. A crown, bridge abutment, or denture is then attached to the implant using a screw.
Being able to attach something to the implant is key. If, for example, you are missing a tooth, the conventional method is to put crowns on the adjacent teeth so we can attach the artificial tooth to it. The artificial tooth then sits on top of the gum, in what is called a bridge.
When we put in a bridge, we have to cut down the natural tooth – something we’d rather avoid if we can. By placing an implant in the space and attaching the crown to the implant, we don’t have to cut down the adjacent teeth. This gives you a more natural look.
In cases where partial or full dentures are required, implants allow us to fix the denture to the implant. For a partial denture, the usual method is to attach the denture to a clasp on adjacent teeth. With implants, the attachment goes on the implant itself. Conventional full dentures simply sit on the gums and require denture cream to stay in place. Implants provide a solid anchor for the denture, so denture wearers can “snap” the denture into place and throw their denture creams away for good.
To be a candidate for an implant, you must be in good health and have good healing capacity. Bone mass and quality is also an issue, although oral surgeons have made great strides in increasing bone density using grafts and other techniques. We provide the best dental implants in San Diego.