Replacing missing teeth with dental implants provides various benefits, such as restoring the ability to chew. Dental implants also help you avoid health issues related to missing teeth. For example, they prevent the degradation of your jaw bone and the sifting of adjacent teeth.
But dental implants come in many forms depending on the severity of tooth loss. Hence, if you intend to replace a missing tooth or several teeth with dental implants, here are your four options.
1. Single-Tooth Dental Implant
As the name suggests, single-tooth dental implants are applicable when you want to replace a single missing tooth. Single-tooth dental implants comprise:
- An implant post (artificial tooth root)
- Abutment (a slot that holds the artificial dental crown)
- Prosthesis (artificial dental crown)
During installation, a dentist drills a hole into your jawbone to create room for the implant post. The dentist then inserts the implant posts into the hole to act as an artificial tooth root that can support an artificial dental crown.
However, it takes a few months for the jawbone to integrate the implant post and heal. A dentist will only install the artificial dental crown after the jawbone augments with the implant post.
2. Implant-Supported Bridge
If you have several missing teeth in a row, replacing each missing tooth with individual dental implants may not be practical. Besides, drilling adjacent holes in your jawbone for implants will damage your jawbone.
Hence, dentists recommend implant-supported bridges for such scenarios. A dental bridge comprises several artificial teeth adjoined together. A dentist can attach the bridge to the adjacent teeth at each end of the missing teeth gap using adhesive. However, the adhesive tends to wear off after some time.
As a result, dentists often recommend getting an implant-supported bridge. Thus, instead of using adhesive to hold the bridge in place, they will screw the bridge onto a dental implant for better support and durability.
While an implant-supported bridge can replace a short row of missing teeth, it is not a suitable option for people with severe tooth loss. An example of severe tooth loss is when a person's entire jaw has no teeth. In such a scenario, dentists recommend getting an all-on-four or 3-on-6 implant.
An all-on-four implant comprises an overdenture supported by four dental implants. However, your dentist doesn't permanently fix the overdenture to the dental implants. As a result, you can remove the overdenture when you want to clean it.
4. 3-On-6 Dental Implants
3-on-6 implants comprise three separate dental bridges held in place by six dental implants (two implants for each bridge). 3-on-6 implants apply when a person has a few scattered teeth on their jaw. Hence, instead of removing the remaining teeth, dentists opt to install separate implant-supported bridges next to the few remaining teeth.
Reach out to a dentist to learn more about dental implant services.