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Basics of a Dental Implant
If you are interested in replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant it is important to understand the basics. A dental implant is comprised of 3 parts: the titanium implant, the abutment, and the crown. The titanium implant is surgically placed in the jawbone where the titanium will then fuse with the jawbone. The abutment fits over the part of the implant that is protruding from the gum line, and the crown is the part that looks like a natural tooth that attaches to the abutment.
Many times people who are missing one tooth opt to get a fixed bridge; but there are a few things that you need to know before taking this route. A bridge may damage the healthy, adjacent teeth that may or may not need to be restored in the future. Then depending on the age of the patient there is the additional cost of possibly having to replace the bridge once, twice or more over the course of a lifetime. This also holds true for a removable partial denture. Research has shown that within five to seven years there is a failure rate of up to 30% in teeth located next to a fixed bridge or removable partial denture. Clearly opting to get a fixed bridge or a removable partial denture can end up being much more expensive in the long run.
As you can see in the illustration, the presence of natural teeth or implants preserves the jawbone. When a tooth is extracted or missing, the bone may erode and/or weaken to the point where bone grafting will be necessary for placement of the dental implant. When the implant integrates with the bone in your jaw that implant will provide the same stability as the tooth that was previously there.
One of the things that patients and doctors alike can hang their hat on is that there is over 50 years of clinical research supporting dental implants. Most of the time implants are the best long-term treatment option to replace missing teeth.