A dental implant is a replacement for the root or roots of a tooth. Like tooth roots, dental implants are secured in the jawbone and are not visible once surgically placed. The illustration by Dear Doctor, Inc. shows the similarities between a natural tooth and an implant tooth. Implants are used to secure crowns, bridgework and/or dentures. They are made of titanium, which is lightweight, strong and biocompatible, which means that it is not rejected by the body. Titanium and titanium alloys are the most widely used metals in both dental and other bone implants, such as orthopedic joint replacements. Dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device.
Titaniums special property of fusing to bone, called osseointegration (“osseo” – bone; “integration” – fusion or joining with), is the biological basis of dental implant success. That’s because when teeth are lost, the bone that supported those teeth is also lost. Placing dental implants stabilizes bone, preventing its loss. Along with replacing lost teeth, implants help maintain the jawbone’s shape and density. This means they also support the facial skeleton and, indirectly, the soft tissue structures — gum tissues, cheeks and lips. Dental implants help you eat, chew, smile, talk and look completely natural. They require the same maintenance as natural teeth which includes brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups. This functionality imparts social, psychological and physical well-being.
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