Implants are devices that replace the roots of missing teeth, and are used to support crowns, bridges or dentures. Implants are placed in your jawbone surgically. Most of the time, implants feel more natural and secure than other methods of replacing missing teeth, such as dentures.
Replacing a lost tooth is vital to maintaining the overall health and function of the surrounding teeth. It helps avoid tooth migration and loss of structure. It is necessary to avoid loss of bone from the jaw in that area. Having all of your teeth can make you more self-confident. You don't worry that people notice that you have teeth missing.
When teeth are lost, the area of the jawbone that held those teeth starts to erode. Over time, you can lose so much bone that your jaw will need a bone graft to build up the bone in your jaw before your dentist can place implants or make a denture that fits properly. Tooth loss affects how well you chew and what foods you are able to eat. Many people who have missing teeth have poor nutrition, which can affect overall health.
The loss of teeth can change your bite, that is the way your teeth come together. Changes in your bite can lead to problems with your jaw joint, called the temporomandibular joint. Losing teeth can lead to changes in your speech, which also can affect your self-confidence.
Dental implants are an effective means of counteracting these problems. Dental implants are also very strong and provide a feel as close to a natural tooth as can be currently achieved. Further, implants reduce the impact of the lost tooth on surrounding teeth, as traditional bridge structures often require reduction (filing down) of the two adjacent teeth to hold the bridge in place with crowns. Implanting avoids such alterations to the surrounding teeth when replacing a lost tooth.
Dental implants, when replacing dentures, provide even more benefits. Dentures are notorious for slipping at the worst possible moments. Poorly fitting dentures can even affect diet, restricting food selections to easily chewed foods.
Implants eliminate the possibility of slipping or pinching, and allow food of almost all types to be eaten (other than extremely hard foods such as chewing on ice, pits, or popcorn kernels, which is very bad for the implants and not good for natural teeth, either). In short, dental implants are the closest way to surgically restore a natural tooth to its original condition.