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What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the premium choice for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants not only look and function like natural teeth, but they also promote a healthier mouth and jaw.  Read on for everything you need to know about dental implants.

Dental Implants and Your Jaw Bone

Dental implants are unique in that they mimic not only the exterior of a natural tooth but also mimic the function of the tooth root within the jaw bone. Dental implants use a titanium or zirconia screw placed in the jaw bone, during a surgical procedure. As you recover from implant surgery, an incredible process known as osseointegration takes place.

Osseointegration is the medical term for the process where jaw bone cells grow up the titanium screw. It creates an incredibly strong bond, similar to how your tooth root was previously bonded to your jaw bone. Once the titanium or zirconia implants are fully integrated, they will be covered with an artificial tooth.

Titanium is a biocompatible material that is lightweight, but strong enough to withstand repetitive motion, such as chewing and biting. For this reason, titanium is also used in joint replacement surgeries elsewhere in the body. Zirconia is a bioinert, naturally white material, that is non-corrosive, and will not trigger chemical reactions in the body.

The implant continues to strengthen your jawbone as time passes. This is because dental implants help to maintain the natural function of your teeth. The jaw bone remains healthy and strong through the repetitive exertion of pressure placed on the implant through chewing.

Who Qualifies for Dental Implants?

Individuals missing one or more teeth should talk with their dentist about dental implants. You will need to be free of active gum disease and infection. You will also need to have enough healthy jawbones to support a dental implant.  If your jaw doesn’t have adequate height and density, you may need bone grafting to build up your jaw for future implant support.

Types of Dental Implants

There are several types of dental implants, and your prosthodontist will discuss the option best suited for you, based on the number of teeth you are missing, and the health of your jaw.

Single Implants

Single implants are used to replace a single missing tooth. The tooth looks and acts like a natural tooth, and the screw implanted in the jaw helps to prevent jaw bone loss.

Implant Supported Bridge

An implant-supported bridge uses dental implants to replace multiple missing teeth in a row, without requiring a denture.  An implant-supported bridge will use two implants to support a bridge to cover larger gaps in your smile, due to multiple missing teeth in a row.

Implant Supported Dentures

Using as few as two implants, implant-supported dentures may be fixed or removable.  Implant-supported dentures function more naturally than traditional dentures and do not require denture adhesives or pastes. These dentures will snap onto your implants providing a secure fit, and providing a beautiful smile.

Full Arch Implants

Full arch implants are for people who are missing all of their upper or lower teeth. Using as few as four implants as anchors, your smile will be filled in, yet you won’t need to worry about them becoming wobbly, as happens with traditional dentures.  The implants securely fasten an entire row of teeth to your upper or lower jaw. Full arch implants also help to prevent the sunken look that develops from traditional dentures, as the implants help to preserve your jaw bone.

Schedule a Consultation for Dental Implants

If you’re interested in learning more about replacing missing teeth, contact North Shore Prosthodontic Associates today.  With offices in Manhasset, Woodbury, and Manhattan, our team of experienced, compassionate, and skillful prosthodontists and dentists is here to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile.

Manhasset Office:  516-482-5416

Woodbury Office:  516-364-2333

Manhattan Office: 516-482-6198