In most cases dental implants are made of titanium and resemble screws that are placed in the dental bone. Dental implants that are placed in the bone go through a process called osseointegration, which is the process of actually integrating into and becoming part of the dental jawbone. This process actually strengthens the jaw and maintains the dental bone. After teeth are extracted and there’s no more root in the bone, the body doesn’t have a reason to keep the dental bone there, and the dental bone disappears. That’s why it’s important to have dental implants placed soon after tooth loss, before the dental bone is lost. There are procedures to graft dental bone back, but bone grafting cannot be used in all circumstances, and even when bone grafting is possible, the bone grafting procedures add time and money to the end result- replacing the missing tooth/teeth, and making a tooth replacement.
There is also a type of dental implant that sits on the bone instead of in the bone. This type of dental implant is called a subperiosteal implant and is used when there isn’t enough height of dental bone remaining into which implants that are like roots can fit. The subperiosteal implant is recommended, when necessary, for replacing missing teeth in the lower jaw only. There is so much to say about dental implants and we will continue speaking more about them in upcoming posts.
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